My Beef With Ghost Writing and Ghost Preaching

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Those of you who read Christian books probably aren’t aware that a fair percentage of famous Christian authors don’t actually write their own books.

They have ghost writers who do it for them.

Most of the time, the ghost writer’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the book. In fact, they are often paid not to have their names appear.

Sometimes, the ghost writer’s name will appear on the cover in small letters under the “author’s” name, prefaced by the word with.

Example: Frederick Champion with David Yengling

Well, David Yengling actually wrote the book … so you can thank him. 

But in most cases, you’ll never know who the ghost writer is. And some of these “ghost written” books are best-sellers.

Not necessarily because of the content, but because the author has a large following (usually a megachurch pastor or a TV/radio personality).

Having written all my books myself, including the co-authored books I’ve done with other authors whose names appear on the covers prefaced by the word ‘and,’ I’m not sure ghost writing should be practiced by Christians … unless the ghost writer is given her or his due. Without that, it seems to send the wrong message to the reader.

I don’t know about you, but when I read a book, I want to hear the author’s voice, not someone else’s.

The same goes for ghost preaching, in my book. Yes … some pastors and traveling teachers have people write their sermons and messages for them.

I’m not talking about borrowing ideas from others. That’s quite normal and unavoidable. I’m talking about hiring someone to write sermons for you as politicians hire speech writers.

I remember back in 2007, one of my friends divulged to me that he wrote sermons for a very well known Christian speaker.

Yes, I was surprised. (I guess I’m naive.)

To my mind, a spoken message carries with it a part of the person who is preaching it. It’s not just the rehearsing of text.

For those who have others write their messages and sermons, I recommend reading Watchman Nee’s The Ministry of God’s Word. It will surely give you a paradigm shift if not a sturdy jolt.

So, I’m not a fan of ghost preaching or ghost writing.

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Frank Viola
FRANK VIOLA has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. His mission is to help serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply, gain fresh perspectives on old or ignored subjects, and make the Bible come alive. Viola has written many books on these themes, including God's Favorite Place on Earth and From Eternity to Here. His blog, Beyond Evangelical, is rated as one of the most popular in Christian circles today.

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