Author Topic: Sermongate  (Read 4809 times)

John_Hannah

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Sermongate
« on: July 07, 2021, 08:19:29 AM »
From today's Times; I don't know what to make of it, myself.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/us/sermongate-plagiarism-litton-greear.html
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Norman Teigen

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2021, 08:37:59 AM »
Conclusion:

"What is certain is that the temptation to crib on Sunday mornings is not new. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin wrote of his admiration of a young Presbyterian preacher much respected for his preaching, which was apparently delivered extemporaneously. When a doctrinal dispute erupted in the congregation, however, an adversary recognized that a passage delivered by the preacher had been lifted from an uncredited source.

"Franklin stuck by the plagiarist. “I rather approved his giving us good sermons composed by others,” he wrote, “than bad ones of his own manufacture.”
Norman Teigen

D. Engebretson

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2021, 08:54:18 AM »
From today's Times; I don't know what to make of it, myself.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/06/us/sermongate-plagiarism-litton-greear.html

And the dust-up has revealed a dirty little secret of the preaching life: Many pastors borrow from one another in the pulpit, and the norms around the practice are fuzzy at best.

I'm sure it happens.  But how extensive such a practice is the article does not establish. Years ago I know that it was customary for pastors to rotate pulpits during midweek Lent using a published series of sermons they mutually chose. But now with the internet and so many sermons readily available on so many sites, it's hard to know who is using what.

I would think that parishoners would know if a sermon 'sounds' like their pastor.  We all have a 'style,' for lack of a better word. 

But simply preaching someone else's sermon as if it is your own is not only ethically wrong, it is laziness on the part of the preacher who does not want to wrestle with the text himself and do the hard work of preparing a sermon that speaks specifically to his congregation.   
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2021, 09:04:57 AM »
Some very prominent preachers been nailed for plagiarizing Sermons or parts of sermons.
Plagiarism of any sort is despicable. Anyone who does it, when caught, should lose their pulpit.
One may, of course, use ideas or phrases from another, but only with proper attribution and citation.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Keith Falk

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2021, 09:20:33 AM »
And it isn't difficult to give credit...


"As i was doing sermon prep this week, I came upon these words from John Doe, who said things much more beautifully/clearly/eloquently than I. Doe wrote, '....'"

Rev. Keith Falk, STS

pastorg1@aol.com

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2021, 10:04:39 AM »
Scripture addresses the preacher existentially. If the preacher avoids this Kierkegaardian “offense” and instead makes something up from someone else’s life, the preacher is a coward, and a lazy coward.

Peter (Just do you job) Garrison
Pete Garrison

D. Engebretson

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2021, 10:30:01 AM »
Some very prominent preachers been nailed for plagiarizing Sermons or parts of sermons.
Plagiarism of any sort is despicable. Anyone who does it, when caught, should lose their pulpit.
One may, of course, use ideas or phrases from another, but only with proper attribution and citation.

I realize my fellow pastors probably laugh at my tendency to often extensively footnote my manuscript. But these are printed, made available in the narthex, and also mailed to several people who are unable to attend church. One shut-in even mails it to her son in a prison in another state. So I treat them as public documents. But in speaking one can also verbally cite a source as Pr. Falk notes. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Jim Butler

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2021, 11:02:09 AM »
I've been blessed to have sold a Lenten series to CPH for publication in  _Concordia Pulpit Resources_ as well as a couple of sermon studies/full sermons for that periodical. I was honestly honored and humbled when pastors from across the country called and emailed me questions about the series. (For some odd reason, CPR didn't include the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday sermons from the series but said they were available from me. I got a lot of requests for them. I also sent them all of the original Word docs to make it easier for the pastors to write their sermons.)

But those are sermons that are published with the understanding that others will be making use of them. In this case, it appears that the new SBC president was lifting sermons that he found elsewhere and was preaching them as his own. That, I think, is much more troublesome. About twenty or so years ago, there was a pastor near me, who had the same first name, who took several newsletter articles that I wrote, covered over our church's heading, and republished them as his own. I found that very irritating and unethical. I finally took to printing my article with colored paper to put a stop to it.

Interesting topic to discuss!
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

Jim Butler

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2021, 11:52:36 AM »
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2021, 03:25:29 PM »
I've used illustrations I've heard from others, putting things in my own words, way, and application. That seems rather commonplace. Lifting whole passages word-for-word seems odd. Perhaps he is suffering from creative burnout, which is a real problem if you're presenting all the time. I prepare two sermons each week and have done a lot of writing over the years, so I sympathize but would not encourage lifting passages that way.

I was listening to a podcast about an Evangelical congregation the other day. The speaker talked about inviting guest preachers to "preach their best sermons." That might be a luxury of non liturgical sermon preparation where you are not creating something new week by week but building a stock of repeated presentations. Local preachers don't enjoy that luxury.
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Paul Peckman

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2021, 03:27:45 PM »
A homiletics professor critiqued sermons by a student:  "Your sermons are good and original.  The only problem is:  the parts that were good were not original and the parts that were original were not good."

Charles Austin

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2021, 04:18:13 PM »
By the way, I have a sniffer dog nose and eagle ears, and I believe I can tell when the sermon has been recycled from an earlier year, sometimes from years ago.
The sermon may be all right, but it lacks a certain contemporaneous tone or reference. So if you’re going to recycle old sermons, don’t just recycle them, completely rewrite them.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2021, 04:36:06 PM »
I recall a speaker stating that Concordia stopped publishing Concordia Pulpit because they discovered that pastors were preaching those sermons as their own rather than use it as a resource to help them write their own sermons.


One of the complements I received from a homiletics professor at Luther Seminary was that my "notes" are not sermons. (They are 3-4 times longer than my sermons.) I hope that they will spur a theme that the users will then turn into their own sermons.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Dan Fienen

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2021, 04:44:27 PM »
I recall a speaker stating that Concordia stopped publishing Concordia Pulpit because they discovered that pastors were preaching those sermons as their own rather than use it as a resource to help them write their own sermons.


One of the complements I received from a homiletics professor at Luther Seminary was that my "notes" are not sermons. (They are 3-4 times longer than my sermons.) I hope that they will spur a theme that the users will then turn into their own sermons.
Perhaps those who were involved in the decision could give greater insight. I recall at the time that Concordia Pulpit was discontinued and Concordia Pulpit Resources was begun that input from the users of the resources were sought. I gave my input that a sermon outline would be more useful to me, as well as the text study and other articles that were included.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Jim Butler

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Re: Sermongate
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2021, 07:09:04 PM »
I recall a speaker stating that Concordia stopped publishing Concordia Pulpit because they discovered that pastors were preaching those sermons as their own rather than use it as a resource to help them write their own sermons.

I asked the former and current editors of Concordia Pulpit Resources why the change was made. They said that the reason was that they did not want only sermons; they wanted sermon studies as well. When I submitted my material for two Sundays in Epiphany a few years ago, I could not just submit two sermons, I had to "show my work" as well. In fact, the editor sent me a template for my submission. I was to fill it all out.

In addition, the current format allowed for book reviews, articles on preaching, etc. which the old Concordia Pulpit did not allow for, being in book format.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris