Oct 272009

Sometimes…I don’t know what to do about a given situation.

Like the mess I stumbled upon last night…

It has been my habit for many years to listen to some theological teaching at night as I’m falling asleep.

Last night I decided to listen to one of the pillars of the Truly Reformed lecture on “the order of the decrees”.

That’s an in house debate among Calvinists sure to bring on deep sleep quickly. ;-)

Unfortunately, as I listened I had the strange feeling I’d heard this lecture before.

To make a long story short, this pillar had stolen large chunks of his lecture word for word from a lesser known but well respected teacher… who I also had on mp3.

Worse yet, he was using the pilfered teaching in a seminary class.

Part of me wants to call out Professor Pillar the Plagiarist…part of me wants to save my strength for more important battles.

I can say that this person has lost the considerable amount of respect I once had for him.

Chuck Smith and Jon Courson have been plagiarized more than anyone I can think of through the years…and it has always  irked me no end.

What do you think about plagiarizing preachers?

  12 Responses to “Copy Cat Calvinists”

  1. Send a quiet note to the teacher … encourage him to give credit… and forget it

  2. I have taught a great deal of material that originates with Malcolm Smith… I sent it to him months ago…then invited him to my church. We discussed what I have done…he was delighted. He noted that I had ‘dreadized it’ so to speak…owned it. That is what he hopes for…

  3. I think like my pastor said (Jon Courson) the last original thought was from Adam and it wasn’t a good one He also told me to milk many cows but make my own butter. Being a missionary for a few years I saw how some people stole from J verson Mc Gee and chuck and jon and weirsbe but truly may it all be to bring people into a deeper walk with the Lord I tend to just enjoy reading my bible and asking the Lord to show me what he wants me to share but I glean from other teachers not necessarily to share but to be refreshed and encouraged

    Still Milking…..

    Bigfala Mike

  4. One thing I notice is that something have become a part of me, whether I recognize it or not. Sometimes a teaching, be it oratory or in book form, will stick with me, though I forget the author, the book, etc. I have said things word for word that someone else said and never recognized at the time I was copying someone else. I do give credit if I know that I am teaching something that someone else taught word for word, but often I attempt not to teach word for word another teaching. Often it doesn’t seem to fit my own train of thought or I have a slight disagreement with some minor points along the way. Another thing to recognize is that at times, a teaching can be implicit in another teaching. I’ve thought long and hard about some theological or philosophical topic, and realize that someone beat me to it. Of course, the whole thing was implicitly things I had read and due to the type of languaged used, sometimes I find myself using the exact same language.

    I do agree with Dread for the record…

  5. As a student, a college would suspend me if I plagiarized, so I think that academics should be held to a higher standard. But then this is the spoken word, not the written word, so I don’t know what the rules are on that.

    On the other side of it, I do think the professor ought to give credit where credit is due. It’s just good common sense. But I know that people absorb things they read and then spit them out as their own. I’m a novelist and one person in my critique group literally copied whole paragraphs of my material without knowing it. It irked me no end. I did ask her to take it out and she did, but it really bothered me that it even ended up in her book.

  6. Actually, lots of well known Bible teachers have “borrowed” from other teachers without giving credit. I know of a very well known Bible teacher who removed Warren Wiersbe’s books from the church bookstore while he was teaching through the Pauline Epistles. Why? Because he was using Wiersbe’s outlines for his teachings, but of course not giving him credit.

  7. Hey CC guys have been doing it for years. I even heard Courson brag about how a pastor repeated his teaching almost word for word.

    Yes there is nothing new under the sun.

    The right way would be to either cite the source or just say, “I didn’t think this up myself.”

  8. 1. I’m with Dread on how to deal with it.
    2. Whenever I preach, if I quote someone else, I always begin with, “I think John Piper nails it when he says…” or “This is how my friend Ryan Couch puts it.”

  9. I agree that credit should be given.

    I remember hearing a story that one time Billy and Ruth Graham were driving and listening to a Christian radio station. As they listened to the preacher Billy exclaimed, “Hey, he stole that from me!” Ruth replied. “Yes, but who did you steal it from?”
    I am not sure if I read that from one of Ruth Graham’s books or heard it in another’s message but it really impressed upon me that truly, nothing is new under the sun and the same Lord is inspiring His children with His truth.

    However, I do believe we should give credit when we have taken something word for word from anther.

    I like what Dread’s attitude on this.

  10. Plagiarism isn’t as uncommon among Christian leaders as one might think. Over the years I too have uncovered popular bible teachers who will shamelessly rip off a respected yet lesser-known bible teacher (and I also feel the temptation to list the offenders). Some of the posts speak of a form of plagiarism where the thoughts or ideas of a teacher are organized and synthesized in to ones own. In these situations it is common to give credit where credit is due. However, it becomes problematic when you hear a bible teacher-especially one who is paid to teach-to recite word for word the teaching of another and to bill it as his own. I think this points to character problems of the worst kind.

  11. I don’t have a problem with someone copying another teacher in a way that communicates the “gist” of the message. Word for word plagiarism does bother me. I feel that it is the resposibility of a pastor/teacher to study the word for themselves and not just trust that someone else has done so. I had heard that there was one pastor that was plagiarizing Courson to the point of even using Jon’s illustrations from his personal life involving his children…..just changing the names. That is the type of dishonesty that really bothers me.

  12. Dealing with this in a major way in my own church. Whole series as of late have been lifted verbatim. In this, the Age of Google, plagiarism is just a bad idea. Many people can lose faith when they feel like their newfound faith has just aground on the Truman Show.

    We are told to be above reproach. We are told to be led by the Holy Spirit. We are told to be truthful. We are told to love one another.

    How does masquing someone else’s sermon as your own with zero application to the local body (I think of Revelation 2-3) do these things?

    Join Courson says plagiarism does not exist in the ministry, that Paul encouraged Timothy to teach what he taught, and he did, thank God; however, everyone knows Paul wrote it, and that what Paul wrote was the Word of God. Same goes for every other hand of man that wrote it. Those men gave credit to God, and God gave credit to them. Jesus didn’t even plagiarize himself (do to speak) when he credited the Old Testament authors. Who are we to do any less?

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