Or not. Apparently Sermon Stealing is worth noticing (by the New York Times!) on a sort of high-season basis, when one instance of it goes viral and prompts urgent discussion about the morality of getting emotional in front of the flock and testifying to someone else’s love of Jesus as if it were your own.

This latest shock and awe that ill-educated inspirationalists copy their betters will blow over in a sec, and the Bible Belt Industrial Complex will resume operations.

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5 Responses to ““Keep in mind that we’re not counting, here, the high school principal (heartfelt commencement speech) or the man of God (sermons). Although they always bring a sparkle to UD‘s eyes, these cases [of plagiarism] are too measly to be worth noticing.””

  1. John R Says:

    When a fellow I know studied fifty white fundamentalist preachers in North Carolina some time ago, many owned up to having borrowed or adapted sermons. Three actually volunteered that they had preached sermons by Martin Luther King. Or so they thought: King borrowed sermons himself. I’m told that he adapted one from Harry Emerson Fosdick that Fosdick had taken without attribution from Phillips Brooks.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    John R: King did indeed borrow.

    And as for the notorious infinite regress you mention – “I propose to borrow – you know, as the Bard said, with that cold in his head, to borrow and to borrow and to borrow …”

  3. Jeremy Bangs Says:

    I documented seven plagiarized sermons from 2015-2016,in my book, Requiem for a Chapel Royal – A Brief History of The English Church in The Hague (privately published, 2017, available print-on-demand from Lulu Publishing). On being alerted to the problem privately, the relevant bishop dealt with the situation by ignoring any obligation to respond or comment. That church was founded in 1586 and has had a wide range of theological and liturgical viewpoints, at one time being the only active Chapel Royal when the English royal family fled in exile to The Hague during the Commonwealth period. Such plagiarism has its defenders. Addison reported on the clergyman employed by Sir Roger de Coverley, “I could heartily wish that more of our country-clergy would follow this example; and instead of wasting their spirits in laborious compositions of their own, would endeavour after a handsome elocution, and all those other talents that are proper to enforce what has been penned by greater masters. This would not only be more easy to themselves, but more edifying to the people.”

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Jeremy: Wonderful quotation! What an edifying world this would be if composers restricted themselves to plagiarizing Beethoven and other great masters over and over again. At least in the realm of religion, we can enjoy this transcendent sameness.

  5. JND Says:

    As if we Baptists needed something else to be embarrassed about.

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