Artificial Intelligence Sermon Generator

Started by Rev. Edward Engelbrecht, March 17, 2023, 09:50:55 PM

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If a Lutheran publisher created an Artificial Intelligence sermon generator,

I would use it to help create sermons.
1 (5.9%)
I would never use it.
11 (64.7%)
I would consider using it, depending on its performance.
3 (17.6%)
I don't prepare sermons for Lutheran congregations but I find the idea interesting.
2 (11.8%)
I don't prepare sermons for Lutheran congregations and I find the idea uninteresting.
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 16

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Artificial Intelligence text generators are now being described as a definite part of our future.  What if Lutheran publishing houses made available sermon generators? You add the text, target audience, length, etc. to the generator and allow it to create a sermon. Would you try/use such a product? What advantages might it provide? Would it be wrong for a pastor or congregation to use?

Charles Austin

Pastor Engelbrecht:
What if Lutheran publishing houses made available sermon generators? You add the text, target audience, length, etc. to the generator and allow it to create a sermon.
Me:
I would write them a very nasty letter.

Pastor Engelbrecht:
Would you try/use such a product?
Me:
No

Pastor Engelbrecht:
What advantages might it provide?
Me:
None

Pastor Engelbrecht:
Would it be wrong for a pastor or congregation to use?
Me:
Yes.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis.
GUILTY on ALL 34 counts

Michael Slusser

Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on March 17, 2023, 09:50:55 PM
Artificial Intelligence text generators are now being described as a definite part of our future.  What if Lutheran publishing houses made available sermon generators? You add the text, target audience, length, etc. to the generator and allow it to create a sermon. Would you try/use such a product? What advantages might it provide? Would it be wrong for a pastor or congregation to use?
Can an AI faith generator be far behind?  :'(

Peace,
Michael
Fr. Michael Slusser
Retired Roman Catholic priest and theologian

J. Thomas Shelley

Quote from: Michael Slusser on March 17, 2023, 09:56:21 PM

Can an AI faith generator be far behind?  :'(

Peace,
Michael

The zeitgeist should never be confused with the Heilige Geist.
Greek Orthodox Deacon - Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Dan Fienen

I subscribe to CPR and also to its predecessor the Consordia Pulpit and use it as a source of sermon ideas, and have used other preaching resources. I am, however, incapable of preaching a written sermon as written. The prepared outline or text is always only the starting point. If I got an idea from an AI is that worse than from a book? It would still be I who would have to accept the idea and run with it.


Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Michael Slusser on March 17, 2023, 09:56:21 PM
Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on March 17, 2023, 09:50:55 PM
Artificial Intelligence text generators are now being described as a definite part of our future.  What if Lutheran publishing houses made available sermon generators? You add the text, target audience, length, etc. to the generator and allow it to create a sermon. Would you try/use such a product? What advantages might it provide? Would it be wrong for a pastor or congregation to use?
Can an AI faith generator be far behind?  :'(

Peace,
Michael


When faith is defined as agreeing with a set of doctrinal statements, e.g., One God in three person. Jesus is divine and human: one person, two natures, etc. then yes, AI can learn and recite all of those statements of the Christian faith.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

J. Thomas Shelley

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on March 17, 2023, 11:20:34 PM
Quote from: Michael Slusser on March 17, 2023, 09:56:21 PM
Can an AI faith generator be far behind?  :'(

Peace,
Michael

When faith is defined as agreeing with a set of doctrinal statements, e.g., One God in three person. Jesus is divine and human: one person, two natures, etc. then yes, AI can learn and recite all of those statements of the Christian faith.


So can the demons, according to the Epistle of James.
Greek Orthodox Deacon - Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: J. Thomas Shelley on March 17, 2023, 11:25:58 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on March 17, 2023, 11:20:34 PM
Quote from: Michael Slusser on March 17, 2023, 09:56:21 PM
Can an AI faith generator be far behind?  :'(

Peace,
Michael

When faith is defined as agreeing with a set of doctrinal statements, e.g., One God in three person. Jesus is divine and human: one person, two natures, etc. then yes, AI can learn and recite all of those statements of the Christian faith.


So can the demons, according to the Epistle of James.

The only thing James says that the demons believe is that God is one.

One of his points throughout his letter is that faith by itself isn't enough. Contrary to Luther's addition to Romans, James states that" a person is justified by works and NOT by faith alone" (James 2:24).

I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

J. Thomas Shelley

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on March 18, 2023, 12:20:44 AM
Quote from: J. Thomas Shelley on March 17, 2023, 11:25:58 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on March 17, 2023, 11:20:34 PM
Quote from: Michael Slusser on March 17, 2023, 09:56:21 PM
Can an AI faith generator be far behind?  :'(

Peace,
Michael

When faith is defined as agreeing with a set of doctrinal statements, e.g., One God in three person. Jesus is divine and human: one person, two natures, etc. then yes, AI can learn and recite all of those statements of the Christian faith.


So can the demons, according to the Epistle of James.

The only thing James says that the demons believe is that God is one.

One of his points throughout his letter is that faith by itself isn't enough. Contrary to Luther's addition to Romans, James states that" a person is justified by works and NOT by faith alone" (James 2:24).

And Luther wrote in the preface to his commentary on Romans that it is as impossible to separate works from faith as it is impossible to separate light and heat from fire.

[The precise origin and moment of John Wesley's experience of having his heart "strangely warmed"]
Greek Orthodox Deacon - Ecumenical Patriarchate
Ordained to the Holy Diaconate Mary of Egypt Sunday A.D. 2022

Baptized, Confirmed, and Ordained United Methodist.
Served as a Lutheran Pastor October 31, 1989 - October 31, 2014.
Charter member of the first chapter of the Society of the Holy Trinity.

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Here is a helpful video for understanding more about machine learning that helps support AI.

https://youtu.be/5q87K1WaoFI

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Here are potential benefits I could imagine for such a tool:

-Aggregation and use of sound content (e.g., resources like Concordia Pulpit and Pulpit Resources could be used to train the generator; historical sermons by Luther and other Fathers, too).

-Auto-outlines of a text showing potential ways to preach it as expository, thematic, biographical/story approach,  etc.

-Cross application of illustrations to multiple texts and themes.

-If linked to the web, such a generator might automatically line up related news stories, historical examples, literary references, song lyrics relevant to the target listenership. Imagine telling it you want three illustrations, suggestions for which are best,  and a list of options.

-Potential reduction in time spent on creating content.

-Potentially greater style variation so sermons sounded fresher.

Instead of one pastor grinding out one outline/sermon,  what if that pastor was presented with a handful of approaches to the passage from which he could choose what he believed most suited to the congregation he serves?

These are some ways AI technology might serve sermon development.

Charles Austin

If you are not willing to do the personal study, find the appropriate contemporary references (not hard if you are well-tuned in), and make the application local to your parish, why are you preaching at all? Nobody ever said this was supposed to be easy.
Iowa-born. Long-time in NY/New Jersey, former LWF staff in Geneva.
ELCA PASTOR, ordained 1967. Former journalist. Retired in Minneapolis.
GUILTY on ALL 34 counts

Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

Quote from: Charles Austin on March 18, 2023, 04:27:21 PM
If you are not willing to do the personal study, find the appropriate contemporary references (not hard if you are well-tuned in), and make the application local to your parish, why are you preaching at all? Nobody ever said this was supposed to be easy.

Hmm. The internet,  the personal computer,  the photocopier, the electric typewriter, the telephone: these have all made pastors jobs easier/more productive. Shall we stop using them, too?

Seems like a very Amish response.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: Rev. Edward Engelbrecht on March 18, 2023, 05:03:32 PM
Quote from: Charles Austin on March 18, 2023, 04:27:21 PM
If you are not willing to do the personal study, find the appropriate contemporary references (not hard if you are well-tuned in), and make the application local to your parish, why are you preaching at all? Nobody ever said this was supposed to be easy.

Hmm. The internet,  the personal computer,  the photocopier, the electric typewriter, the telephone: these have all made pastors jobs easier/more productive. Shall we stop using them, too?

Seems like a very Amish response.

I read an essay some years ago that suggested the written scriptures killed the living Word. What had been a living, dynamic Word between believers (or a believer and a convert candidate) had become static words on parchment. The Word that is lived in and through human beings is what makes it alive. (Similarly, faith, which is why a computer, even with all the correct confessions stored in its hard-drive, is not a follower of Christ.)

There was once a cartoon that showed a pastor preaching a sermon virtually as he was projected on a screen behind the pulpit; then the view shifted to the pews and they were filled with recording devices. Not ekklesia, nor a congregation. Both words refer to the gathering together of people. Perhaps too often overlooked in Article VII are what I've boldfaced: It is the assembly of all believers among whom the gospel is purely preached and the holy sacraments are administered according to the gospel. I'm not sure that we could call people staying at home and watching someone purely preach the gospel and receive the sacrament privately having been consecrated by the pastor through the internet.

It is messy to be the church; but that's where we sin and forgive each other so that we can better understand our sins against God and the divine forgiveness we receive.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

Terry W Culler

Quote from: Charles Austin on March 18, 2023, 04:27:21 PM
If you are not willing to do the personal study, find the appropriate contemporary references (not hard if you are well-tuned in), and make the application local to your parish, why are you preaching at all? Nobody ever said this was supposed to be easy.

Have to agree with Charles on this point
"No particular Church has ... a right to existence, except as it believes itself the most perfect from of Christianity, the form which of right, should and will be universal."
Charles Porterfield Krauth

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