Second Hand Sermons?

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Ted Weis | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Apr 6 2016 8:14 AM

When John Piper answers a church goers concern about her pastor's use of other's sermon outlines, he urges preachers not to use other's work. Which makes me wonder, "What then should one think about Logos sermon collections?"

While I do intend to stir the pot, polite responses only, please.

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BillS | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 8:35 AM

I'm not so interested in their exegesis as I am their illustrations, which I cite if I use... Sometimes they make a point that inspires me. For me, it's all part of research for a particular message. Their ideas are only seeds in my reflection.

As for Logos sermon collections, there are too many free collections for me to worry purchasing any that aren't included with a base package.

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Bill


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scooter | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 8:48 AM

As a layman, I have a few sets but do not use them.  As they are records of public speaking, to me they speak less to the given point than a well edited book.  They  work well live, to me, but not in Logos or paper volume.

Posts 391
Geo Philips | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 8:50 AM

I look at other sermons similar to commentaries, purely from an exegetical point of view.

Sometimes, like BillS said, they are good fodder for illustrations, including using a quote from the sermon itself (with proper accreditation of course.)

With regards to sermon collections, they can be helpful (I have a couple including Piper's) in Logos as part of reading before preaching, or even as devotionals.

On the whole, the issue of sermon plagiarizing is muddled. You are plagiarizing if you copy the layout of a sermon (outline and divisions/points) but often, you will find there are only so many ways to skin a cat.

Perhaps, the greater concern is commentary plagiarizing where your entire sermon is a commentary on that portion made into a manuscript. Essentially, there is no time spent on the core exegesis and plenty of time spent on the dressing up. 

Posts 315
Lonnie Spencer | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 9:07 AM

I have been preaching practically every Sunday for the past 30 years, feeding others souls the word of God. Who feeds the preacher's soul with preaching? I am thankful that Logos makes sermon collections available so that someone can preach God's Word  to me and feed my soul too.  I would rather listen to a sermon, because it is an oral medium where too much of the sermon's impact is lost in the written form. I may also study a sermon to see the mechanics of the sermon craft this person has used to communicate God's word effectively or sometimes, ineffectively. So I am glad for Logos putting sermons in written format for that reason. But using others sermons as your own sermon waters down the whole sermon process as much as running to the commentary to get a sermon before one has even looked at the passage for themselves.

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Everett Headley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 9:32 AM

Ted Weis:

When John Piper answers a church goers concern about her pastor's use of other's sermon outlines, he urges preachers not to use other's work. Which makes me wonder, "What then should one think about Logos sermon collections?"

While I do intend to stir the pot, polite responses only, please.

Having read the same article, and having studied under Piper for years, I think that you might be misunderstanding what he is saying.  If you were to take "Pastor Bob's" and then preach it as your own or even with the caveat that it is his, Piper would take issue with that. If you were however, to use a portion of it (outline, illustration, exegesis, etc,) and then wrestle with the text on your own and produce a product that God has spoken to your heart and will speak through you, he would be very ok with that.  The idea is along the lines of taking milk from several cows, but making your own butter.  (I heard this analogy so long ago that I don't even remember where.)

Posts 391
Geo Philips | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 9:42 AM

I agree with Everett.

An academic definition of plagiarism is probably too broad for sermons. In fact, as another anecdote goes, if you truly hear something new from the pulpit, you might want to be extra-cautious.

Everett Headley:

Ted Weis:

When John Piper answers a church goers concern about her pastor's use of other's sermon outlines, he urges preachers not to use other's work. Which makes me wonder, "What then should one think about Logos sermon collections?"

While I do intend to stir the pot, polite responses only, please.

Having read the same article, and having studied under Piper for years, I think that you might be misunderstanding what he is saying.  If you were to take "Pastor Bob's" and then preach it as your own or even with the caveat that it is his, Piper would take issue with that. If you were however, to use a portion of it (outline, illustration, exegesis, etc,) and then wrestle with the text on your own and produce a product that God has spoken to your heart and will speak through you, he would be very ok with that.  The idea is along the lines of taking milk from several cows, but making your own butter.  (I heard this analogy so long ago that I don't even remember where.)

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 9:46 AM

Ted Weis:
When John Piper answers a church goers concern about her pastor's use of other's sermon outlines, he urges preachers not to use other's work. Which makes me wonder, "What then should one think about Logos sermon collections?"

There's a big difference between using someone else's work to inspire your own thinking, and using someone else's work to save you from having to think. Logos sermon collections can be used for the latter, but that doesn't stop them being great for the former.

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James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 9:49 AM

Mark Barnes:
There's a big difference between using someone else's work to inspire your own thinking, and using someone else's work to save you from having to think.

Yes

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EastTN | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 10:07 AM

I would note that there are sermon outlines that are published specifically as preaching aids. I do believe they have some legitimate value for the novice preacher, especially someone who doesn't have formal training and is just beginning to get into proclaiming the word.  They provide training wheels - and a bit of a security blanket - to help them structure a simple lesson that hangs together and makes sense.  They should, if they're developing normally, fairly quickly outgrow the need for that kind of aid. If an experienced minister is still using sermon outlines as the basis for their own sermons it indicates, in my judgment, that there's either a problem with their development as a preacher or they're just phoning it in, so to speak, without putting in the effort the job deserves.  (I'll admit that there may be unusual situations, such as being asked at 9:00 in the morning to give a lesson at 10:00, where even a more experienced minister might find this type of tool useful.)  But for the young person offering up their first sermon, the person asked to give an occasional sermon when an experienced minister isn't available, or the individual considering a mid-life move from a secular job to the ministry, a sermon outline may give them the confidence and guidance they need to succeed.

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Andy | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 11:18 AM

My view is similar to that expressed above. I have a number of sermon collections, MacArthur, Piper, Keller, and the lost Driscoll collection. I tend to use these collections for devotional purposes, to understand a particular preacher's position on broader issues than those explored in their published monographs, and reading for pleasure.

I will also occasionally refer to a sermon collection in serious study. Typically this would involve older works, e.g. Jonathan Edwards, Calvin, etc. I will occasionally use a sermon collection to sense-check a particular point or approach in sermon preparation. I try and minimise this, however, as I don't want to fall into the temptation of repatterning my sermon after the last thing I had read. For that reason, if I do refer to another sermon collection, I will only do so in the late phase of preparation.

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 11:24 AM

Ted Weis:
Which makes me wonder, "What then should one think about Logos sermon collections?"

Augustine sent copies of his sermons to local pastors. I wonder what they did with them. 

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 11:42 AM

Ah yes, Piper training his professionals.

Some traditions speak to the amateurs ... a Bible or maybe key quotes ... 1st century stuff .... ok, maybe late 2nd.  

But in defense of Piper and his professionals, churches do demand quality from their oxen treading out the grain.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 1:50 PM

Piper's opinion is his opinion. If you found a sermon outline that will preach and you give it your own personal touch (or not) and that helps bring someone to Christ, why not use it? A word of caution would be: don't get into the habit of using others's work ALL the time and when you do, every now and then, make sure you still add your own personal touch and work hard to make the outline and presentation better than the original (it can be done). I reworked a Piper sermon on Barnabas and it definitely served the purpose of encouraging a few members who needed the encouragement; and reworking the outline required work just like it requires work to build a sermon from scratch. My respects to Piper, but his opinion should not apply to everybody only to the lazy preachers who love to "wing it" in the pulpit using someone else's work irresponsibly. 

My 2 cents :)

DAL

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 6 2016 1:57 PM

It was a work which the Archbishop had long had in view. For there can be no doubt that he had sanctioned and encouraged the publication of the discourses called Postils which were collected and printed by Richard Taverner in 1540; perhaps he had even been a contributor to the volume. And it must have been by his persuasion that “the bishops, in the Convocation holden A.D. 1542, agreed to make certain homilies for stay of such errors as were then by ignorant preachers sparkled among the people.” That Convocation sat at intervals from January 20 to April 3 in that year, but did not meet again for business till February 16, 1543, when some homilies, not made by the bishops, but composed by certain dignitaries of the Lower House, were produced by the Prolocutor. Of these nothing further is recorded; but, although the project “took none effect then,” some of them may have been preserved, and turned to account by Cranmer in 1547. Be that as it may, he now tried to carry out the design in the manner then agreed upon, and called upon Gardiner, and probably upon other bishops, to furnish homilies accordingly; and, although Gardiner refused to be bound by an agreement made five years before, the Archbishop seems to have found Bonner more compliant, and was aided also by more willing coadjutors.
The book came forth with the following title: “Certain Sermons, or Homilies, appointed by the King’s Majesty to be declared and read by all Parsons, Vicars, or Curates every Sunday in their churches where they have cure.”


John Griffiths, “The Editor’s Preface,” in The Two Books of Homilies Appointed to Be Read in Churches, ed. John Griffiths (Oxford: Oxford at the University Press, 1859), vii–viii.

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Mike Pettit | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 7 2016 2:45 AM

A quote from the great Augustus Montague Toplady:

"I was buying some books in the spring of 1762, a month or two before I was ordained, from a very respectable London bookseller. After the business was over, he took me to the furthest end of his long shop, and said in a low voice, 'Sir, you will soon be ordained, and I suppose you have not laid in a very great stock of sermons. I can supply you with as many sets as you please, all original, very excellent ones, and for a trifle.' My answer was: 'I certainly shall never be a customer to you in that way; for I am of opinion that the man who cannot, or will not make his own sermons, is quite unfit to wear the gown. How could you think of my buying ready-made sermons? I would much sooner buy ready-made clothes." His answer shocked me. 'Nay, young gentleman, do not be surprised at my offering you ready-made sermons, for I assure you I have sold ready made sermons to many a bishop in my time!' My reply was 'My good sir, if you have any concern for the credit of the Church of England, never tell that news to anybody else forever.'"

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Jack Caviness | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 7 2016 4:46 AM

Ted Weis:
he urges preachers not to use other's work

When I first entered the pastoral ministry, my pastor told me that many SBC pastors moved ever 2-1/2 years because that was the time it took to preach through all of Hershal Ford's Simple Sermons For… collections. Geeked Hopefully, he was incorrect. 

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 7 2016 7:42 AM

many fine, detailed responses.  I do think the issue boils down: are you doing any work on your sermon at all, and are you saying outright, or implying, that what you are preaching is yours when it is not--which is related to how much work you have put into it (thought, study, reflection, application for your own life and congregation, etc).  

I think it is helpful to think of a continuum--one where the one extreme is preaching Piper or Chrysostom word for word and saying it is yours, and the other end which is never looking at anybody's thinking, never reading a paper for illustrations, etc, and just making up stuff on your own.  If you tend to align more with one side versus the other, perhaps you are out of balance and need to address why you are stuck there.  Ie, if you rely a lot on others, what is the problem with your own study and thinking?  Or if you only do your own thinking, why do you not allow for the input of others, many of whom may have been inspired (on some level) by God and have something to offer your own thinking.

Obviously the above doesn't cover all situations, but I offer it as a kind of rubric to evaluate tendencies and motive.

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

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Friedrich | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 7 2016 7:42 AM

Jack Caviness:

Ted Weis:
he urges preachers not to use other's work

When I first entered the pastoral ministry, my pastor told me that many SBC pastors moved ever 2-1/2 years because that was the time it took to preach through all of Hershal Ford's Simple Sermons For… collections. Geeked Hopefully, he was incorrect. 

SurpriseBig SmileBig Smile

I like Apples.  Especially Honeycrisp.

Posts 639
Ted Weis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 7 2016 8:39 AM

Everett Headley:
The idea is along the lines of taking milk from several cows, but making your own butter.

I love that statement! Also, I appreciate the fine erudite statements from everyone.

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