Monday, August 08, 2005

The problem with stealing sermons

Thanks to Michael Duduit and Preaching Now for pointing to this article, which includes advice from D. A. Carson on the dangers of stealing sermons:
I am not referring to the almost inevitable borrowings of a person who reads a great deal, still less to the acknowledged borrowings of an honest worker, but to the wholesale reproducing of another's work as if it were your own. My concern here, however, is not so much with the immorality of such conduct as with the desperately tragic way in which it reduces preaching and the preacher, and finally robs the congregation.

The substance of a stolen sermon is doubtless as true (and as false) as when the originating preacher first said it. But here there is no honest wrestling with the text, no unambiguous play of biblical truth on human personality, no burden from the Lord beyond mere play-acting, no honest interaction with and reflection on the words of God such that the preacher himself is increasingly conformed to the likeness of Christ. Any decent public reader could do as much: it would be necessary only to supply the manuscript."
Too true.


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