Breaking: Did SBC President Ed Litton Plagiarize his Sermon from J. D. Greear?

A new video has been unearthed showing that something shady is going on with the newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), after it was discovered that at least one of his sermons appears to have either plagiarized from ex-SBC president J. D. Greear, or the result of both having purchased their sermons from a third party and then were exposed in the process.

By all accounts Litton has copied from Greear, who preached January 26, 2019 compared to Litton’s January 27, 2020. The sermons are unsettlingly similar, frequently being word for word or phrase for phrase, and following the exact same structure. A mash-up of the two messages would be seamless. At no point in the sermon did Litton reveal that he was going to re-preach Greear’s sermon, or give any indication that he was essentially copying the transcript.

It is also possible that both of them are imbibing from those sermon mills that churn out sermons, sermon notes, questionnaires, study guides, and pre-packaged illustrations like, “I was out walking in {insert name of park here} and I saw a kid flying a kite. I turned to my {insert wife/friend’s name} and said to them…” for $299.99 a month. We’ve no evidence of that yet, though certainly we’re looking into it.

Check it out yourselves, and then read a small sampling of the transcript.

JD: “We’ll give you a warning here that this might be the toughest week that we will have in the book of Romans, Romans one, the end of it is tied in difficulty only with Romans five, Romans nine and Romans 11.”

Litton: “This may be one of the toughest passages we face in the book of Romans. This is the steep climb I talked about.”

JD: “So in fact, let’s just sort of loosen things up right now. Everybody turn right now to your neighbor, look him in the eyes. If you know them, if you know them, put your hand on their shoulder and say, ‘this is going to be a really tough week for you. Okay’? And tell him, say ‘I’m praying for you to have the faith and humility to receive this word.'”

Litton: “I want you to turn to your neighbour right now. And I want you to say, I know this sermon is going to be really tough for you. But I’m here praying that you will listen and obey whatever God says, Go ahead, do that right now.”

JD: “I compared it to if the earth were to say to the sun, ‘I am sick and tired of you being in the middle of the solar system.'”

Litton: “If the earth were to ask the sun in our solar system, ‘I’m sick and tired of floating out here and nothingness surrounding you constantly, I want to be the center of the solar system.'”

JD: “The sun might just say to the earth, alright, have it your way. The earth is 30,000 times smaller than the sun and would not have the ability to keep all the planets in orbit. And so the solar system would begin to unravel simply because the sun gave to the earth what it asks for.”

Litton: “Folks, our entire solar system would fall apart. Why? Because the earth doesn’t have the power of light, and it doesn’t have the power of gravitational force to hold this solar system in existence.”

JD: “You see, there are three ways I see us really going wrong with this and the church at large…Number one – we believe that God doesn’t really care about this.”

Litton : “Let me tell you three ways I think we’ve gone wrong…is that we don’t think God cares about this issue.”

JD: “The gospel message is not let the gay becomes straight. The Gospel message is let the dead become alive.”

Litton: “The gospel message is not let the gay get straight. The Gospel message is let the dead come to life.”

JD: “Which leads me to the second way that I see us going wrong here. Number two, we think it’s the worst sin.”

Litton: “Here’s the second thing I think we do, we go wrong. And that is thinking homosexuality is the worst of all sins.”

JD: “Number three, assuming it’s hard for LGBTQ people to get to heaven.”

Litton: “We go wrong, thinking LGBT people can’t go to heaven.”

JD: “Homosexuality does not send you to hell. You know how I know that? Because heterosexuality does not send you to heaven.”

Litton: “Homosexuality does not send people to hell. How do I know that? Because heterosexuality doesn’t send people to heaven.”

JD: “Rosaria Butterfield, whose story I’ve shared with you before here, she was a practicing lesbian, very outspoken professor of literature and Women’s Studies at Syracuse University.”

Litton: “She was a practicing lesbian, very outspoken professor of literature and Women’s Studies at Syracuse University.”

That is a mess. We don’t know how much worse it gets, or how far down the rabbit hole it goes. This is a binary choice, however. Either Litton plagiarized an original sermon from Greear, or he purchased it from the same place Greear did, and just happened to get caught.

Luckily for these two men we will be going through the rest of the sermons in that sermon series, to see what sort of other suspiciously similar sentences we can find.


h/t to bookman for the find



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10 thoughts on “Breaking: Did SBC President Ed Litton Plagiarize his Sermon from J. D. Greear?

  1. That is so creepy. At a minimum, Litton should be fired from his church and removed from his SBC post. If Greear also bought the sermon, he should be fired as well.

    Things like this are stupid regardless of the plagiarism: ““Homosexuality does not send people to hell. How do I know that? Because heterosexuality doesn’t send people to heaven.” What a false analogy. Homosexual thoughts and deeds are sins. Being a heterosexual is completely benign.

    P.S. I hate the “turn to your neighbor” manipulation. How about, “Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘Sounds like another plagiarized sermon full of bad theology..”

  2. One explanation is Litton simply following Greear. Another is a common source on the book of Romans—possibly a TGC source, since both are fairly plugged into such circles, meaning Keller, Tripp, Merida, Platt, Piper, Lawson, etc. A third possibility is that they may have both used the same company to provide assistance with cultural research and sermon series planning. JD reportedly used Docent Research Group at some point over the past few years. If Ed did as well, they may have been operating with the same notes, which might explain these uncanny similarities. If the latter is the case, there may have been no intent to plagiarize at all. They simply paid the same researcher for the notes.

    The more I think about it, I am willing to bet that if we spliced together some video footage of me telling the story of, say, the footprints in the sand illustration or the joke about the guy on the desert island who built three huts, and compared it with any of the other 50,000 SBC Pastors, we could get pretty close to a verbatim, word-for-word five minute segment out of both of us.

  3. So he turns to JD Greear and to his wife for help with his preaching? Doesn’t seem at all competent of him if you ask me.

  4. I would be careful about being nit-picking over sermons. While both men are wrong in their content, they should be shown to be wrong through scripture not hard to prove accusations.

  5. While both men are being very deceptive and misleading in their depictions and falsehoods about Scripture, even the biblically illiterate should be able to recognize that one or both of them were blatantly lying about the story involving the idols.

    Lies and deception regarding the details of this idol story has not been acknowledged or apologized for to my knowledge, and yet it is blatantly obvious that what is presented as factual is either a completely made-up story or else many of the details are fictional. Deception and lies are attributed to Satan throughout the Bible. Not a source that should be emulated… especially by Christian leaders.

  6. Homosexuality isn’t the worst sin (that is the only point in which these two frauds are correct). Murder is worse. However, homosexuality and its idolatry thereof is proof of a mind that is completely hostile to Christ and his Word. To say that the Bible “whispers” of homosexuality is disingenuous at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. As John MacArthur says, “Don’t hate these people, they are our mission field.” The majority of homosexuals out there are not the loud-mouth arrogant jerks you see parading around on TV. The majority of them are everyday people who need the gospel who are just as friendly as the next person. Let’s remember that. “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…for if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” (Matt. 5:44; 46 ESV).

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