Thursday, December 14, 2006

Pulpit Plagarism

A few months ago a preacher in our area was "invited to resign," as they say, by his board of elders. Apparently the brother had been preaching Rick Atchley's sermons for the better part of a decade. The offense, as I understand it, wasn't so much the use of Brother Rick's sermons as the non-attribution thereof. I'm told some of Rick's personal illustrations even came off sounding like first person experiences rather than "I have a friend who . . ."

I'll admit to preaching another man's material on three or four occasions in the last ten years. (Okay, if you count 40 Days of Purpose, the count balloons to about a dozen times, but I paid good money for those messages and everyone knew it.) Each time the sermon was attributed to the original author, either from the pulpit, or in the accompanying printed material. On those few occasions, I did so because I was hammered for time. Once it was because of a grueling hospital- calling-funeral-during-the-week scenario. On another occasion there was a health crisis in my family.

Some guys tell me they do well delivering another pastor's sermon. Not me. I've never been able to "serve another man's bread" with any kind of authenticity or clarity. It always makes it to the table tasting dry and stale.

The guys at have an interesting blog about the whole issue of pulpit plagiarism. The title is The 1.7 Million Dollar Sermon. I would be interested to hear your take on it.

What say you, fellow pulpiteers?

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