Pastoral plagiarism has been a growing concern among many church leaders, as the Southern Baptist Convention’s president Ed Litton was recently accused of plagiarizing multiple sermons. These accusations resulted in Litton deleting over 100 sermons that had previously been posted online.
“The intersection of pastoral integrity and the confidence in the Bible leads to expository preaching,” Austin T. Duncan said. “But what we’re seeing now, in a failure in pastoral integrity and a misfire in preaching, is the issue of plagiarism — that high level pastors are being accused of using someone else’s sermons.”
Duncan then asked the 82-year-old MacArthur where he gets his sermons from. MacArthur replied jokingly, “That’s why you want to come to the Master’s Seminary, because we will teach you how to get your own sermons.”
Duncan asked, “Why does a pastor plagiarize — why does he use someone else’s sermon — why does that happen?” MacArthur didn’t mince words, saying it’s because “he’s lazy and incompetent — and unsanctified.”
Expanding on his answer, MacArthur said, “I think you become a showman at that point —you’re an actor. You’re playing a part. You’re playing a role.”
MacArthur then stressed the importance of pastors studying the text for themselves. “The thing that expository preaching does that is apart from the congregation is it sanctifies the pastor. The relentless study of the word of God is how God sanctifies and protects the pastor. When you’re just opening your iPad and reading somebody else’s sermon, you’ve never been exposed to the sanctifying work of the Word.”
“Every time I study the Bible, I see the genius of the divine mind. How everything perfectly connects — that is an exhilarating, worshiping experience. I’ve worshiped long hours ever before I get to Sunday morning.” – John MacArthur