Earlier this year, Founders Press released my book Brothers, We Are Not Plagiarists. When it released Dave Jenkins at Servant of Grace asked me to write a related piece for his online theological magazine, Theology for Life. Here’s that piece, which likens plagiarism in the pulpit to a booby trap—an unseen explosive device that does untold damage to the un-expecting.
Let the reader understand, plagiarism in the pulpit is a big deal in the church. Since writing my book, I have received multiple emails reporting it, which only increases in my mind the need to address this subject. It is with sadness that I have received these reports. Yet, such incidents only reinforce the need for this book and for churches to dismantle the dangerous practice. May the Lord help pastors and churches do just that, and may this shorter article show why pulpit plagiarism matters so much.
Dad, what is a booby trap?
Recently, in conversation with one of my sons, the subject of guerilla warfare came up, which in turn led to explaining how booby traps have often been used in war. Because my son has not seen the classic primer on booby traps, the 1980s treasure-seeking adventure Goonies, I proceeded to explain some of the ways booby traps worked in during the Vietnam Conflict.
Speaking outside my area of expertise, I cobbled together some explanation that passed for the time. If I had to speak further on the subject, a quick Google search might lead me to a Field Army Manuel like this one. And in this case, I would share with my son the following facts that I learned from Chapter 13: Booby Traps and Expedient Devices. I’d also share the fact that I am quoting.
From the world wide web, we discover that booby traps
- Are usually explosive in nature.
- Are actuated when an unsuspecting person disturbs an apparently harmless object or performs a presumably safe act.
- Are designed to kill or incapacitate.
- Cause unexpected, random casualties and damage.
- Create an attitude of uncertainty and suspicion in the enemy’s mind, thereby, lowering his morale and inducing a degree of caution that restricts or slows his movement.
Now what do booby traps have to do with preaching?
The answer is that booby traps are an apt illustration for plagiarism in the pulpit. Continue reading