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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

THE QUESTION OF PLAGIARISM IN THE PULPIT
PART ONE
As I write this article my mind reflects on what I have read on this subject. My wife say "How is it possible that you can write so much on one subject and never look at a single book or note?" It’s called recalled memory. I read a lot and from reading I can, most of the time, retain what I have read. When I type on a given subject the thoughts are on my mind and they reach my finger tips while I type (I have to stop to ask Charity how to spell a word, then find a synonym.)

When I preached through Ephesians, I read over fifty books on Ephesians. I use many technique reference books. I am not a scholar, fundamentalists usually don’t even preach expositionally, thus my early training in Greek or Hebrew was limited.. My linguistic study was limited as well, but I have learned that should not stop me from studying the scripture. Even if my fundamentalist friends tell me I only need the Holy Spirit and the KJV.

As I preach verse by verse, explaining word by word, I have learned to find the meaning of the words in reference books.

The point here, the congregation that I taught for over sixteen years, generally was not impressed with my giving credit for my thoughts. I would love to say, "As John MacArthur has said." or Martin Lloyd Jones would say. After awhile they were wondering if I said any thing.

I would go to the linguistic key to the Greek NT to learn the meaning of terms like "saints". I wouldn’t say, in the Linguistic Key to the Gr NT they say the term "saints" means. But I would footnote the quote on my sermon manuscript.. I might go to Colin Brown for help, I might go to Spiros Zodhiates’s study Bible lexical aid on "saint."

If your assembly in your church was only interested in your preaching, and wasn’t interested in all your credit giving for every quote you quoted by someone else. What would be your suggestions to this? If the church believed that every thing you said came directly from the Holy Spirit, you are really in trouble.

As a fundamentalist (I use that term lightly) I could speak from my hip, and not use anyone’s quotes or help. But that to me is not preaching biblically.

Nor do I believe using others who have the scholarship in Biblical language is plagiarism. I do not think when you at times quote others and fail to mention the source that you diminish the trust of your flock.

Let me say all this another way.

Do you believe using others who have the scholarship in Biblical language is plagiarism? Even if you do fail to mention the source of the quote or help? Do you believe that if you do you diminish the trust of your flock?

I would love to preach an entire sermon with my KJV Bible only, and be totally biblical in what I am saying about the texts. I certainly can say what I think the text says. If I don’t care to be accurate in the dispensing of the Word of God, then I could just give my own personal thoughts about the text.

The issue arises when do we plagiarize in our preaching/teaching? If it’s not an original thought and we write it down or mention it while we preach is it plagiarism if we don’t give credit to the source?

What is the definition of "an original thought?"

When in Seminary, I asked my professor, "Dr, how do you preach such a wonderful message?" He said, "Charles, find a text, and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a message?" I was a first year seminary student, well six weeks into the first semester. Was that really possible? Well, yes I preached a Lee Roberson sermon, or one of my dad's sermon. Plagiarism first class. I don't remember hearing that term in 1966!
More later....

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 02 13 07 Proof Checked by Charity 02 14 07