Albert Mohler has come out against pastors who plagiarize their sermons, describing it as “one of the most despicable practices I (can) imagine” and ripping any pastor who attempts to do that. Further, he described them as ‘lazy’ and suggests that if they’re going to pull that stunt, that they ought not to even be considered pastors.
He addressed this on The Briefing, in conversation with the dean of Southern Seminary’s School of Theology, Hershael York.
The word plagiarism is the stuff of lawyers, litigation, courtrooms, and academic seminar rooms, doctoral work, and dissertations and faculty committees. But now, it’s a word that a lot of church members are learning too. Why? Because in this day of instant access to 1000s of sermons over the internet. In the day when so many sermons are available in printed and in audio form in various ways. It turns out that there are a good number of preachers who simply aren’t going into the study and spending hours and hours each week preparing sermons.
After a brief discussion with York about how these pastors don’t even apologize anymore, Mohler continues:
Yeah, I just find that absolutely shocking. I can’t imagine doing that. I can’t imagine. You know, words are our business and I can’t imagine preaching someone else’s words or copying someone else’s words and claiming those my own
Mohler points to an article by Steven Sjogren where he explains he tells people to stop spending so much time each week on the sermon, as all the best guys “get 70% of their material for someone else. Remember, Solomon wrote that there’s nothing new under the sun” and then responds in harsh measure:
“What’s not new under the sun is theft. And what’s not new under the sun is laziness. And what’s not new under the sun is falling short of your ministry to preach the word I’m sorry, but this is just one of the most despicable practices I can’t imagine. I cannot imagine sitting in the congregation, knowing that this guy is simply parroting what he has read, borrowed or stolen from someone else. I can read it better than he can.”
Lastly, in the Q & A part of the program, he declares that pastors who just copy others sermons aren’t even preachers.
Jeff: Hi, Dr. Mohler. My comment today is I don’t understand what the big deal is about this, to be honest. As I was telling your screener I’m not a preacher, however, I do go to church every Sunday that I can. As long as we’re hearing God’s word and hearing it correctly, then what does it matter if a preacher uses somebody else’s sermon? I mean, some preachers have full-time ministry jobs, others have part-time because they have full-time jobs. And as long as he’s telling me correctly, what I need to hear, I don’t understand you mentioned the word pride. And what does it matter if you’re using somebody else’s sermon? Sure. It’s not his work, but it’s God’s word.
Mohler: Why don’t you get up and read it, Jeff? I mean, what makes what makes him in any way the pastor of this church? What makes him in any way, the preacher? Why don’t you just get up and read it yourself?
Jeff: Well, I’m not a preacher, though. I didn’t know…
Mohler: But he’s not either if he’ preaches someone else’s stuff. That’s my point. I mean, if he’s reading someone else’s sermon, you could do it. You’re no less a preacher than he is.”
Fortunately for Southern Baptist Presiden Ed Litton, This interaction took place in 2006, and revolved around a different sermon plagiarism scandal, at the time with Ed Young Jr.
Mohler of 2006 is a far different man than Mohler of 2021. Mohler has yet to address this, despite it first coming to light over a week ago, and while we’re not prophets to sons of prophets, something tells us he won’t be quite so harsh.
Editor’s Note, transcript provided by us, and there may be slight variances.
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