Thursday, December 14, 2006

That Sermon You Heard on Sunday May Be From the Web

As I painstakingly, but joyfully, study to prepare for another Sunday's message, I am disheartened by this article sent to me from one of our college students, Matt Esswein. . .

That Sermon You Heard on Sunday May Be From the Web - WSJ.com

We all stand on the shoulders of others, but just preaching another person's sermon seems to me to change the nature of preaching and represent a neglect of calling. Preaching is something else to me.

I believe that God uniquely calls men to the task of grappling with his Word and declaring the mighty acts of God to His people and to those who are not yet his people. I believe that preaching is truth through personality. I believe there is something special and mysterious when God's Word is preached and God's people together hear.


Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God . . (1 Peter 4:11)

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. (2 Timothy 1:8-11)

3 comments:

Carrie Borsgard said...

I had heard of this before and it bothered me then, just as it does now. I think pastors have been called by God to tell his word, and because of that they should rely on God to give them the words to speak, not Google. It makes you wonder how in touch your pastor is with the Lord when he lets someone else write his sermon for him. One of the men interviewed said, "Most of the pastors I know help each other out, swapping materials and ideas." That is fine, share ideas, brainstorm, but don't pass around the same sermon....

I appreciate the Pastoral staff here at Grace and the new and relevant material that they bring to the pulpit each Sunday. Thank you for your integrity.

GDL Wong said...

Say...Tim- you're pretty good on the web...good preaching. 1 + 1 =....

j/k

I have always appreciated your diligence.

Troy said...

Very interesting topic...interesting enough to pull in a long-time lurker like me into the mix. In short I don't think pastors/preachers "cheat" enough. What??? You say. Now admittedly I am using the word "cheat" loosely...but here is what I mean.
I am not sure why but somehow somewhere preachers and pastors were tagged with expectations of new whiz-bang sermons every Sunday that were cutting edge, creative, "culturally relevant", and unfortunately (if we are honest as a congregation, entertaining?). Thus the market for sermons. That was the main criteria for a good sermon as I saw it growing up in a charismatic church most of my life where the Sunday morning sermon included witty anecdote after witty anecdote with a thread of references to scripture of course (and that was before the internet...I know I'm dating myself). Sad huh? I grew up in the church with no real sense of the church's history (except the very early church). It wasn't until I was in college that I discovered the obvious, that there is a rich history of Christian thinkers that have struggled in depth with the big issues, and were amazingly articulate and prolific about their struggles. Wow! What a resource. After attending a PCA (Presb. Church in America) for some time I discovered how valueable this resource is. I know, I know, the issue here is using a sermon as your own and not giving credit where credit is due. And I agree that that is deception and wrong. I just think that there is a certain unfair (and unhealthy) expectation on Pastors and preachers to be original. I think that all too often that is a distraction from the Gospel message.