Posted tagged ‘integrity’

Pulpit Plagiarism by Popular Preachers

March 2, 2009

Here are two popular preachers doing an unfortunately all-too popular thing in preaching the same sermon.

HT :: Ray Van Neste, Purgatorio, & Joe Thorn

Update: Here’s the deal. Tadd Grandstaff plagiarized Craig Groeschel’s sermon, in particular the sermon illustration. Listen to this audio to hear his first attempt at apologizing, and then listen to his second apology.

That’s cool that Tadd finally apologized, but this does not minimize the seriousness of the error and the philosophy of preaching underneath all of this.  Southern Baptist pulpits have become auctioned off to the best sermon with the coolest graphics and the catchiest sermon series.  Pulpit plagiarism is akin to ministerial pragmatism.  Sermons are being preached that compromise the integrity of the preacher that carry the promise of better results.  God-called preachers tethered to the sacred text should not be bartered off this way.  The call to preach simply should not be up for sale.

However, that is not to say that we do not learn or benefit from the writings or sermons of other people! We all benefit to some degree or another from being taught by other people.  Yet the burden of the preacher is to carry the weight of the sermon in his own bosom, having labored over the text of God’s Word himself.

Update 2: Craig Groeschel on plagiarizing pastors: “On Open, we don’t require attribution for resources that people download and use. We don’t need credit nor desire it. . . . It isn’t plagiarizing if you’re given permission.”

More Than Endorsements and Hat Tips

June 18, 2008

In a recent blogpost, Denny Burk shares his thoughts on the passing of Resolution #6 (on regenerate church membership). After expressing his appreciation and encouragement about its passing, Burk writes,

For those who think that resolution 6 was mainly about membership numbers, I think that idea really misses the point. The inflated membership numbers aren’t really the heart of the problem being addressed by the resolution. The numbers are merely a symptom of the real issue. Southern Baptists don’t practice what they preach when it comes to a regenerate church membership, and that’s the pastoral/ecclesiastical failure that’s the heart of the problem.

That is precisely why the language of repentance is needed, and Lord willing, will be heeded in our churches today. Southern Baptists don’t need to go on record with where we stand on regenerate church membership. John Hammett writes,

History records that though regenerate church membership was at the heart of the origin of Baptists and was for most of Baptist history central to Baptist ecclesiology, it dramatically declined in Baptist life in the twentieth century and is in desperate need of recovery today.”

The need of the hour is for encouragement in what we already know, not new information. We need courage to stand on our convictions that have long been held as the “central to Baptist ecclesiology.” Mere endorsements are not enough, for as Burk notes, we are not practicing what we preach. Consider again the words of Hammett:

“Today, a denomination like the Southern Baptist Convention maintains the theology of regenerate church membership in its official statements, but in reality, its churches show little evidence of regeneration in the behavior of their members. It is widely known that divorce and moral problems are as common among church members as nonchurch members. Even the very modest index of attendance at Sunday morning worship shows close to two-thirds of Southern Baptist church members missing on any given Sunday morning. Regenerate church membership cannot be seriously maintained as characterizing most Baptist churches in North America today.”

– John S. Hammett, “Regenerate Church Membership” in Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches, edited by Thomas White, Jason G. Duesing, and Malcolm B. Yarnell III (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2008), 23-27.

I share the hopes and encouragement which Nathan Finn recently wrote . . .

“I am thankful for the hundreds of Southern Baptist churches that are taking steps to make their practice more consistent with their convictions.  By God’s grace, may their tribe increase tenfold!”


On Regenerate Church Membership

June 9, 2008

Though I plan on posting more on this issue, given that this is the week of the SBC Annual Meeting, I though it would be profitable to compile the previous posts on church membership here for anyone interested in checking them out.

To date, beginning with most recent:

1. Repent of Unregenerate Church Membership? Dockery Says “Yes” [June 6, 2008]
2. SBC Bloggers, Ascol in USA Today [June 4, 2008]
3. Why Pursue Regenerate Church Membership? [May 30, 2008]
4. Tolerated Nonattendance Raises Questions [May 29, 2008]
5. Criminal Negligence Notwithstanding [May 29, 2008]
6. Calling for Truth, Tom Ascol, and Regenerate Church Membership [May 28, 2008]
7. The Challenges to Regenerate Church Membership [May 26, 2008]
8. Dangerous Is the State of Unregenerate Church Membership [May 22, 2008]
9. Rick Warren Signs on to Ascol’s Resolution [May 16, 2008]
10. Toward a Covenantal Church Membership [May 13, 2008]
11. Book Alert: What Is a Healthy Church Member? [May 8, 2008]
12. Meaningful Church Membership for the Members [May 8, 2008]
13. Addendum: Three Case Studies [May 7, 2008]
14. Why I Cannot Support the Barber/Yarnell Resolution on Regenerate Church Membership – and Neither Should You [May 1, 2008]
15. “Ministerially Speaking” [March 18, 2008]
16. Resources on Church Discipline and Regenerate Church Membership [February 20, 2008]

Addendum to the Outsider Look at Unregenerate Church Membership

September 29, 2007

Several blogs have kindly picked up and linked to my article, “An Outsider Look at Unregenerate Church Membership” posted last week. In that post I mentioned the reference to a church in Mississippi that wanted to have a conference on church discipline, only later having to cancel because none of the 700+ invited pastors signed up.

If you have three minutes, let me encourage you to go here, scroll down to Sunday night, September 16, 2007, and watch/listen beginning at the 18:00 mark. Pastor Jeff Noblit, along with Voddie Baucham (among others, went to Zambia to minister in the churches under the direction of Conrad Mbewe. Many of you may remember that Conrad spoke at this year’s True Church Conference which I had the joy of live-blogging. What you will hear in Noblit’s report was the hunger and passion these Zambian pastors have for the local church, especially the purity of the church, which is starkly contrasted to the current state of SBC. So we have heard from Kenyan pastors and now Zambian pastors. When we will we hear from Southern Baptist pastors in the United States?