I am a bible teacher. I love to study the bible. I love to share how its words both encourage and exhort me, deliver and drive me. I love the exercise of taking a passage of scripture and pulling out the historical, doctrinal and inspiration applications in a way that others can see how its truths can be applied to their lives.
With that said, I've seen something just now that compels me to digress from my normal devotional posts and hopefully provide some awareness as to what I feel is a sad happening in our churches today that I'm sure many church goers might not even be aware of. I know I wasn't aware until the past couple of years. So here is the question of the day:
When does presenting a prepackaged purchased sermon become an act of plagiarism?
First of all, let's define what plagiarism is. According to Webster, we see the following:
plagiarism (n.) 1 the act of plagiarizing 2 an idea, plet, etc. that has been plagiarized.
plagiarize (vt.) to take (ideas, writings, etc.) from (another) and pass them off as one's own.
Did you realize that pastors all across this country are buying prepackaged sermons, complete with outlines, scripts, powerpoints, handouts, music & dramas for presentation at their churches? I think that the availability of such resources poses or should pose an ethical dilemma for a preacher. While the seller of the "materials" may not require credit to be given to them for their idea, shouldn't the user of the "materials" give credit where credit is due, rather than taking that credit for themselves? As an aspiring writer and speaker, I am very careful to give credit when I am using someone else's work. If I don't, that is plagiarism as defined. Whether it is an outline, an idea or a lengthy quote, if it is not mine, I will tell you so. To not do so, would be to plagiarize.
So what do you think, dear readers? Watch the video I just saw and decide for yourselves. At any rate, I think it is a shame that our gifted teachers are wasting their God-given talents by taking short cuts to quick, slick sermons. Let me know what you think.