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Pastors and Plagiarism—Sermon Prep or Sermon Theft?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2021 8:00 pm

Pastors and Plagiarism—Sermon Prep or Sermon Theft?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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July 9, 2021 8:00 pm

GUEST: JUSTIN PETERS, founder and preacher, Justin Peters Ministries

Just days after our recent program on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting, which in part focused on the election of new president, pastor Ed Litton, and where he stands on various issues, it was revealed that Litton had for many years been plagiarizing sermons nearly word for word from immediate past SBC president, pastor JD Greear, and that Litton’s church had removed over 140 sermons from their website.

The story is receiving widespread coverage, even in mainstream outlets such as the New York Times.

The dictionary definition of plagiarism is "the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own.” Biblically speaking, plagiarism is stealing and is an egregious sin, particularly for a pastor and preacher of God’s word. While Greear says he gave Litton permission to use his content, Litton never publicly credited Greear. That is blatant plagiarism.

So far, Ed Litton has not resigned, and based on a recent interview, doesn’t seem inclined to do so. More troubling, there has not been a universal call from the SBC or Evangelical leaders for him to step down.

Justin Peters, evangelist and preacher of Justin Peters Ministries, joins us this weekend to discuss what is being called “Sermongate”. For if Christian leaders are now able to skirt past plagiarism, where does that leave the reputation and influence of the body of Christ?

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Pastors in plagiarism sermon prep for sermon that is a topic will discuss today right here on the Christian will radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to share the good news of Jesus Christ.

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Thank you to our listeners for your encouragement and support, and also to our national sponsor Samaritan ministry's provide a biblical solution to healthcare. You can find out more about the Christian really wants a mirror to ministry center website, the Christian were now just days after our recent program on the Southern Baptist convention annual meeting, which in part focused on the election of new president Pastor Ed Lytton and where he stands in various issues it was revealed that Lytton had for many years been plagiarizing sermons nearly word for word from immediate past SBC president Pastor JD Greer and that Lytton's church had removed over 140 sermons from their website.

This story is receiving widespread coverage even in mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times.

Now the dictionary definition of plagiarism is the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own. Biblically speaking, plagiarism is stealing and is an egregious sin, particularly for a pastor and preacher of God's word. While JD Greer says he gave Ed Lytton permission to use his content. Lytton never publicly credited Greer that is blatant plagiarism. So far Ed Lytton is not resigned and based on a recent interview doesn't seem inclined to do so. More troubling, there has not been a universal call from the SBC or evangelical leaders for him to step down our guest today and the program is Justin peters he's an evangelist, preacher and founder of Justin peters ministries.

He joins us this weekend to discuss what is being called sermon gate for of Christian leaders are now able to skirt past plagiarism. Where does that leave their reputation and influence of the body of Christ.

Now before we get to the interview with Justin. I want to play a soundbite of what this plagiarism sounds like from Ed Lytton you're going to hear a side-by-side comparison of JD Greer giving a sermon on Romans chapter 8 and then you'll hear that Ed Lytton borrowed the content directly from JD Greer's sermon you're not can have trouble identifying the plagiarism and there are lots of videos like this online.

This is just one example of what is been taking place. The first floor. So here is Pastor JD Greer and then Pastor Ed Lytton AI Romans chapter 8, which many people regard to be the greatest chapter in the Bible is about to break the title of this morning's message is the greatest chapter in the Bible John Piper says the greatest book in the world is the Bible the greatest letter in that book is the book of Romans, the greatest chapter and that letter is Romans chapter 8 and I would add the greatest verse in chapter 8 is verse one Medford Alamo John Piper said these of the Bible is the greatest book Romans is the greatest letter chapter 8 of Romans is the greatest chapter and chapter 8 verse one is the greatest verse. What will master a simple logical question right. When Jesus died on the cross. How many of your sins that you committed yet only just ask you questions on a practical, logical, note how many sins as you commit when Jesus died on the cross Jesus death wiped out not only the presence of existing condemnation. He wiped out the possibility of future condemnation and that means there is literally nothing that you could do right now. That would make God love and accept you any more than he does nothing you could do that would make him love you any less. Jesus wiped out the present, the past and the future condemnation that my sin brought upon me. Nothing you do will ever make God love you more and nothing you do will ever make God love you less you let that sink in for a minute because when you do that will free you from the performance track the holy spirit relieves us by the grace of God. From a performance trap that Dan frees me from the pretending trap. The second thing is always readily delivers from a performance trap.

He delivers us from pretending by pretending trap Joby Martin, a friend of mine described as, religious life. I try to hold a beach ball under water ever try to do that. You. You gotta generally concentrate because it befalls all try to wriggle out pop up at it's like a guy standing in a pool on a beach ball doesn't want to sit the surface. He doesn't want to come up exactly like it's not there but it takes all kinds of concentration all kinds of work and it's always trying to make itself to the surface generators once usually therefore therefore he says there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Has there ever been a more powerful therefore in the entire history of the English language.

Again, there is therefore now has there ever been a greater therefore in the book how do I know that there is no condemnation for me is because I see the spirit of God at work in me is how can I know that I'm no longer under any kind of condemnation, the Spirit of God lives in you know this is textbook plagiarism and by the way is not just one sermon. This goes on and on and on over the course of many years in the church has removed 140 sermons so this is not just a one-off thing with Pastor Ed Lytton and plagiarism and maybe this next soundbite explains how we got to this point of plagiarism when he admits that he used to lie about his sermon prep to be very honest, I use a lot so people will .4 .4 hours.

A sermon you know if you are you kidding you can spend too much time your dork around doing some else with your head but but actual and Bo… When you're younger it's going to take longer the older you get the stuff that your political stuff, but there is a resource of material and and there's connectivity there will come but I would say 8 to 10 hours average. This exegetical work in the dark. Some of it is organizing the thought.

Keep in mind who you just heard there. Pastor Ed Lytton saying they used to lie about his sermon prep time is now the president of the Southern Baptist convention. Well, let's bring Justin peters on the program.

Now he is a preacher and evangelist and the founder of Justin peters ministries and he is going to add some biblical insight to what's being called sermon gate. Justin, thank you for coming back on the Christian review radio program. My first question is the forgiving of some of the soundbites today because you've you've obviously heard that the side-by-side comparison that we played earlier in the program with the new SBC present Ed Lytton basically almost verbatim preaching.

According to the immediate past president JD Greer sermons on a scale of 1 to 10 Justin how surprised were you that the newly elected president of the SBC Ed Lytton was found only only days into his term to have plagiarized and dating back many years maybe 2013 20 15/100 sermons that we know about this point from the immediate past president JD Greer without giving public attribution to where he got his content. Not only that, but the church where Lytton pastors in Alabama has removed 140 sermons, at least from their website's on scale of 1 to 10 how surprised were you that this came out, David. Good to be back with you brother. I would have to say on a scale 1 to 10 I would probably be nonentity and surprised that it came out but nowhere near that on the scale surprised that he does.

If the question is how surprised are you that he does it.

It probably be about to or two or three maybe and I say that because plagiarism in the SBC in the evangelical world at large is rampant. This is an Lytton is taking all of the scrutiny right now but there's a part of me that in a weird sort of way, almost feels a little bit badly formed because he is. He's not the only one doing it. In fact, you can go right now to James Merritt's website and think it's pastors don't have in front of me but in Young Junior's website Rick Warren's website and all three of these and these are just the ones I know off the top my date they sell sermons, complete sermons, manuscripts, outlines PowerPoint presentation slides everything, the whole 9 yards for download and you can for X number of dollars you can download sermon you can download download entire series of sermons, so this is like a cottage industry in the SBC so I'm not at all surprised that his done it. I am surprised that it's come out and it's actually turned into an issue.

Justin peters with us today on the Christian review radio program. He's the founder and evangelist preacher at Justin peters ministries you can find out more at Justin before we get to some the soundbites of Ed Lytton's interview talking about this the scandal. What is the significance Justin, do you think of the new president Ed Lytton.

The sermons were taken from the immediate past president JD Greer that seems unbelievably ironic that they were taken from him, the immediate past president yes Cindy it very ironic yet is he almost can't make this stuff up. It almost didn't like about laundry kind of thing but it's real. The plagiarism is is horrific enough, David, and in fact while thinking about JD Greer said he gave Ed Lytton permission to use his sermons will even if that's true, and I'm assuming that it that it is it still plagiarism because Ed Lytton took that material and he got up and looked his entire congregation in the eye and portrayed that information to sermons that he was presenting perpetrated as his own material and it wasn't his own at all.

So he's lying to his congregation is lying to God and lying to his people and it is hard for me to wrap my mind around what it would take for a pastor to get up and look his congregation in the on knowing full well that he is bald-faced lying to you. That is just unbelievable to me in trouble and also many levels and and then there's the theology of the sermons in and of itself out of what time to get to that are not a week can we do but just the theology that is in the plagiarized sermon is absolutely horrific. As I mentioned earlier, Ed Lytton, Pastor Ed Lytton, who pastors at the senior pastor of redemption church in Sarah land Alabama he didn't interview very recently. Just days ago with a podcast called set SBC this week or Southern Baptist convention this week. I like to play a few soundbites from this particular interview. He does where he's asked about this plagiarism and get your comment on these soundbites in his response and what they say about the current worldview of those in evangelical leadership. Here's the first one where he's asked about his own statement regarding this plagiarism.

You know, a lot of things going on in the SBC. One of the big ones revolves around a statement that you made last week after a video popped up showing some similarities of asserting that you'd preached with that of JD Greer and I and he released a statement last weekend and a number to read a part of the statement will jump into the interview right out of that, but I like thousands of other Southern Baptist pastors.

I labor every week preparing to stand in front of the congregation got is called me to serve in preparation for our series on Romans. I used several resources to help me think through how to structure the series and how best to communicate the profound truths we encounter in these passages. Not one of those resources you use obviously was sermon series from 2019 by JD Greer so and a lot of people have read your statement still a lot of questions out there, so shall we just start this get let you address that right out the gate.

You know I appreciate the opportunity to stand by the statement.

It was a part of our study and it wasn't just one sermon only you can hear illustrations and different statements throughout the several little sermons and had JD's permission, but encouraging to thing we did is I as we were trying to outline the book of Romans, which is a challenge week we finally looked at it and looked at what they cover and select. It was sufficient. We also received permission to use the passages from week to week and so that makes it look even more similar but what I'm stating is that we did our we do our Greek work we did our commentary work and then usually I'll have someone I listen to an exercise of doing something traveling to help reinforce and give me thoughts and creative ideas and the slow reasons we do in part I do it to the state fresh listen to new voices from time to listen to older voices but but to help me communicate to my people.

The essence of what the word of God is and I can scorch Saying, in essence, is that the sermons from JD would just like another commentary for you and in the preparation that kind of thing.

A lot of my didn't really listen to that I would go straight to his written notes that he provides. Yes, very much like a commentary in that sense and then you know what you know as well. When we listen to our to choose our own commentaries and listen to the sermon and also coalition will find the liturgical and right out of that is understandable.

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Now back to today's program with host David Wheaton. What are your thoughts on Ed Lytton's response that he had JD Greer's permission and encouragement. Of course he never attributed to him publicly. There is the plagiarism side of it, but that this is yeah this is a skylight pastors referring to commentaries and using it in their sermons. Yet that is such an absurd thing to say David because to say that he is using JD Greer sermons almost like a commentary know the sermon is not a commentary that this sermon is is kind of the end product of the research that you have supposed to have already done, part of which is consulting commentaries. The sermon is not in and of itself, a commentary and when wind influences that he does the Greek. He does the work in the languages I almost laughed out loud when I heard him say that because I'd already seen video in which he says I don't know if you seen this yet or not but he actually says. The Bible does not differentiate between homosexuality and hetero sexuality, says the Bible doesn't even have a word for homosexuality and that is job smacking only either ignorant or disingenuous because the Bible absolutely does have a word for it. Paul uses it in first Corinthians chapter 6 verse nine are cynically tied it literally means the word is a word. Apparently, that Paul himself coined the word literally means man betting man, that's what the word means. And so, yes, the Bible does have interest astonishing to me that he could say something like oh we do the work in the languages will apparently doesn't. And just because he gets permission from JD Greer does not absolve him of the offense of plagiarism it in. For example, when I was in seminary and I actually attended the same seminary that Ed Lytton.

We were there at different times. But if I was a if I was back in seminary, Southwestern Baptist theological seminary and I went to one of my buddies and the man doorman storm and said a glance. Lance and I got this paper coming up and I don't have time to do it. I know you've already written a paper on this. Can I use your material in a sister free. Go and I were to take his paper and basically rewrite it, maybe change a few words here and there but same basic stuff and turn that in. It still plagiarism. It doesn't matter if I had Lance's permission. Still, plaintiff, and you be kicked out of school for that salmon out and kicked out of Southwestern seminary all my ear and they would kick me out of it with so fast it would make my head swim in yet and Ed Lytton would've been kicked out for doing the same thing. Any student would.

And yet he's the president of the entire denomination for doing something in a voluminous way as you said is taken down 140 some odd sermons and even some of sermons are still out there. There's plagiarism in those two were talking hundreds of sermons that he is plagiarized and yet he's the president of the entire denomination. How does that work is just just unbelievable. Justin peters with us today here on the Christian. Really, the founder and evangelist is there excellent website. Let's go to soundbite number two from this interview with Ed Lytton on SBC this week and this is where he describes what I really hadn't heard of before this whole thing broke that pastor. Some of these bigger pastors you sort of a team approach to preparing their sermons here is that soundbite in your answer you mentioned. We a lot.I know you talked about in the statement you employ a sermon team approach to help you collaboratively create the servants so conductors like what is that look like at redemption church Wellington why we started doing the best things I've walked on. We had a lot of young men on staff with young people to fill up tall young man that shall Cold War and later in our church, at least on occasion, to preach the gospel and so our purpose was to raise up a new generation of gospel communicators gospel preachers and then every week we have we have a planning planning meeting I I leave the planning and it's based on this form can be based on my work in the text, but we get together. All the other parts of that team are also sometimes given separate parameters to study and they bring something to the table so that were not an echo chamber. We were looking at the text. We break it down.

A lot of times we get out at me with a very clear outline and notes or illustrations and then we finish the rest of the week building that out or whoever the preachers are going to be and again I leave that process because I'm discipling of young preachers and will course you know from all the people have assumed about this that which people would say don't cycling orchestra messed up. But the reality is, it is so it's a very effective way for me it's been a powerful tool because I'm listening to other voices okay again that's Ed Lytton, the new president of the Southern Baptist convention and Justin, I have really had never heard about this team approach of a team of researchers and writers putting together a sermon for a pastor. I was assumed it was a pastor himself may be an assistant would look up a little bit of research here and there on something and help out in some regard or something like that. But what what is your response to this this quote unquote team approach to preparing sermons yesterday. That is, that is one of the more egregious issues here in this related to this topic. I couldn't believe that Ed Lytton actually openly admitted this and apparently there was no hesitation on his part at all thinking that maybe that maybe this is a right this is not a good thing exactly you.

We just heard them say it's one of the best things that they that he's been a part of is this team approach to writing sermons. I am absolutely appalled at that. David, when I sit in it church on a Sunday morning and I'm listening to the pastor, I want to know that that man that I'm listening to preaching God's word has been in the study as study to show himself approved under God, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. I want to know that that man is studying the text that he is put in the time that he is wrestled with it that he has gleaned everything that he can. I want to know that the truth of God's word that he is presenting to me has impacted him as saturated he is mine is filled his heart and what we just heard from Ed Lytton is the polar opposite. He has a whole team to write his sermons and then apparently I guess each member.

This eight-man team contributes a little bit and they somehow cobbled together that is that flies in the face of hell studying and preaching should be done. Ed Ed Lytton is not being impacted by the word of God is not being impacted by the text is not studying it, as evidenced by the horrific theology in the sermons that that is plagiarized me if he was really studying the text, he would have alarm bells going off in his head, immediately knowing that the Bible actually does have a work for homosexuality. What is so it's just unreal, and what a terrible disservice not only to his church.

But what a terrible disservice to these young man who were helping him write the sermons. He is training them to do the same thing when they have their own churches their own ministries there and do the same thing there not to think that there's anything wrong with it.

Mediators don't go the levels of deception and error. Here are just mind blowing. It really is a homeless any companies calling it discipleship yes because it discipleship me. That is, this is unbelievable is not discipleship you are training young man how to deceive their churches and how to dishonor Christ. That's what you're discipling them out in the senior pastor is nothing more than a editor of content is given to kinda cobble it together to collate all these different things really seems to me it takes away the be the leading of the Holy Spirit is as a pastor spends time alone in his office in the word and in prayer, asking God to help help him understand and interpret and then preach that the truth of his word. Justin peters with us today in the Christian world view talking about pastors and in plagiarism.

In light of this scandal within the Southern Baptist convention with the present Ed Lytton plagiarizing. We don't even know how many sermons it is now, many of them from the immediate past president JD Greer. Let's go to the next soundbite from this interview on SBC this week with Ed Lytton where the interviewer basically gives Ed Lytton the opportunity to apologize for what took place. Here's what he said.

So with all the discussion here.

What's the impact been on the on you and maybe even Kathy will appreciate the question what God is made very clear to us is that we are going. Isaiah 48, 10, and a refiner's fire. Malachi 3 tells us the same thing that God is still bit is not aware that he's coming from God being sovereign intimately involved with our growth is helping us refine financial essay. I apologize for to anybody who has been offended, and rightly so heard in some of the things have been represented in such a way but I'm not denying that we borrowed these things and now I will say this to mass by good people and goodwill people.

Why didn't you just credit JD moment you hear my heart.

This is not excuse or justification. I am sorry I did not have preaching Prof. in seminary that we would preach in front of them. He would evaluate us that he was one of the kindest people I've ever met for evaluating the student got up probably the smartest guy in the class and every citation from ICC Linsky from any critical commentary. He made that any commentary he cited all and even as illustrations so I got this from that book cannot thousand illustrations. Whatever we had finished the professor very kindly said that was a good sermon Salama to say something when a diamond minor goes looking for diamonds. He doesn't hold up depicting the fellow. He holds up the diamond. Please hear my heart, Jonathan.

I am not excusing myself explicitly understood explain my heart. I love my people and I want them to see Jesus. He is Donald. This is open my eyes and it's open concerns and and will I do it differently. I promise you would do differently and even my preaching team was has been uncomfortable the last two weeks because we we are engaging the subject line. They know what the pastors going through and they had noninsured doubts. I know they didn't douse themselves. And we were able to talk about those things and were making this a growing experience because our God is a refiner. Okay, chest, and I just have to you is that the texting action acronym SMH shaking my head. What when I listen to that man again. He kind of apologized but then went into this rationalization basically that now the guy was looking for.

The diamonds doesn't hold up the pick in the acts and I promise not to do it again and was not even an apology. What was that there was a train wreck is what that was his whole thing is a train wreck with the boys. I didn't sound like a Hollywood apology.

I don't know what does he know from Downtown East Hollywood celebrities. He says say something stupid and they got to come out.

You know I apologize if my words offended anyone.

Blah blah blah. We all know those are fake will ask what that sounded like that was that was no was no apology and he says my preaching team has been troubled by this.

For the last two weeks I should been troubled by this. From the inception of the plagiarism. That's what should have trouble updating. It's been going on for years.

Only we know now at least back to 2014. I think it is 13 or 14 holds old sermons about Lytton that Nevins did discover two of also been plagiarized. So this is been going on for many years and knows how long before that. So your laser. These are crocodile tears at this something if this is something that really bothered their consciences as it should have. They would've done something about this years ago and there there only changing out simply because I got called that that's not that's not a godly sorrow per second Corinthians 7 there just ended and it had they not been called. They were deadlocked along just doing the same thing that they been doing for years. Well said Justin.

And if it sounds like were being hard on Pastor Ed Lytton well II think that this warranted in this situation.

After all he is is the one of the most influential now positions in all of evangelicalism in least in this country and perhaps even around the world is the president of the Southern Baptist convention what what this states. What this this message.

This this gives two other pastors gives to the name of Christ, what the response is going to be within the Southern Baptist convention whether this would be swept under the rug and is justified and let's move on here. There's nothing to see here that this is a very serious situation there. There is no more important place in the world than in the pulpit and that that is why this needs careful scrutiny and biblical applied to what took place in the Christian world you David Wheaton returns in just a moment.

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If you listen closely. This is where the race card gets pulled in it. A lot of this I think is shown is really the hostility of the day online, both inside and outside submit his conviction. It's happening not just in our convention. It's happening in other conventions. Other denominations, the PCA is going through. There is right now. Gen. assembly in St. Louis. I we see it a lot really and secular politics to me that that's been like the last five or six years in cyclic politics. It's gotten to the point where it's almost unbearable. We like to work with one another across these sides, so to speak up with that air quotes but how can we see each other in knowing and really approve of this culture that seems to be driven by attack attack attack rather than grace and unity and mercy again. It's a great question was of this, I will. I applaud the people who are trying to do this, and there are good people trying to bring stability to this twitter other social media.

We need to learn how to be civil in our conversation because world for a lot of reasons. Because Christ commands a second because the world is watching us.

The hallmark of scriptural debate conversation among believers is honor first respect for one another listening without condemnation. Romans chapter 1 that what we need to assume the best of each other and leave room for repentance when there is a need for genuine repentance of the assumptions on each other's hearts are distraught and we need to humble ourselves and how do you see that maybe impact your church even at 27 years. I hope you will want to talk a little bit about your your pastoring at redemption church there in Mobile but have you seen your church maybe work through some of this hostility that maybe it's related secular politics. It seems to be the kind of the way it really creeps into the local church.

I would think is especially a in the South, although I think a lot of times we we realize our people because we do talk about this. There's a false narrative in my particular case it's about me that I have been: woke up and called because of my more commercial insulation in but they know what the people know and that's one of the reasons I stand behind it has been 27 years of perfection that's been 27 years of pain and suffering and difficulty together but but what happens is people learn to trust and that is a core issue. That's why this conversation so important because we automatically are distrustful of the children, especially for strangers to okay that was Ed Lytton again explaining away this whole plagiarism scandal and the interviewer saying with become so critical back and forth then you many more grace and mercy and Ed Lytton agreeing to that and then, implying that the reason that there's been so much controversy and criticism is because he is busy. Consider woken his work in racial reconciliation.

Your thoughts on this final soundbite Justin yesterday or is your idea.

He came very close to playing the race card here that I can's I know I can speak for myself that my my concerns here have absolutely nothing to do with race one way or the other business is not about in and of itself, social justice, although you see his supporters are coming from the social justice. Proponents of SPC but all SPC people from the from the presence of the seminaries all the way down to all the delegates. Everybody sitting at the regardless of where you come down on the social justice issue not planted my flag very firmly and that is a mental note sent against it. But regardless of where you come down to get come down on this is a character issue. This is a matter of character integrity. This is a matter of lying to your people. This is it speaks to his character regarded a lot. I would be saying the same thing if he was on my side of the social justice debate if he if he is if you can find his name on the statement of on social justice in the gospel that that I hope to to formulate and then put my John Hancock to his John Hancock was older I be saying the same thing. It doesn't matter so you know for him to try to calm this offer is not excuse it will assist my enemies. You know people are feeling things differently than I do. They're the ones are trying to bring me down. So the other guy can get in that kind of thing that's not the issue that's data I have heard it said, and if you have to and I don't know the primary source is subtle but aversive anytime you say I am sorry I did such and such, but here's what I did. It in whatever follows the but negates the I'm sorry if you make an excuse for your sin, then you're not truly sorry for your sin so that that's what were dealing with her. Do you think this is a disqualifying am assuming you think this is a disqualifying repeated sinful pattern of him as a pastor and if so what does the response that you're reading so far from other evangelical leaders about it.

What is it say about the evangelical movement today. Yes, it is disqualifying absolutely disqualifying you should not be in the pulpit. He should not be in the ministry at all, much less the president of the SPC. As I said earlier, I would be kicked out of seminary for doing 1% of this so would he have been kicked out when he was so yes, it is morally disqualifying as far as what is going astray down on my guess is that he will remain as the president of the SPC. That's my guess.

I guess I'm somewhat encouraged people are still talking about it because I know that there wanting to just go away, but I just learned. This is apparently made the front page of the New York Times so the world is watching as they set the world is watching. It really does seem to break along the faultlines of the social justice issue. Those who are on his side of it works, dip their toes and work fully committed to the social justice movement 1° or another.

They are defending him. Those of us who are not are rightfully calling this out, but as I said, this issue should transcend the social justice debate. This is an issue of character and integrity and absoluteness is failed. It I would love to know just how many Southern Baptist pastors are doing the same thing is it's status as a cottage industry. SPC is wide spread problem. Perhaps the dirty little secret going on within evangelicalism right now, and Justin peters with us today here on the Christian world you talking about this situation, pastors and plagiarism. You alluded to this earlier. I think in our conversation, they just a couple more questions for you just for the sake of time here, but you didn't interview recently on your own website your own podcasts and they can.

Listeners can go there to your website. Justin

I'm assuming it's there were links from there. Were you brought up this research group called docent and on their website says here's what they do.

They partner with pastors to provide research assistance to lighten their load and help them serve their churches more effectively. As this assist with both sermon and sociological research offering consultations with experience ministry leaders in producing curriculum.

The website path you us says this service docent is used and/or endorsed by Tim Keller, John Wartburg, Mark Driscoll, Craig Rochelle of And of course JD Greer and he has an extensive quote praising this organization docent that might have people remark to me how many hours did you spend on that sermon or did you get time to do all that research and he says hi. Thanks guys for making me look so good, so what did you find out about this organization called docent and why is this a very bad thing. Bad sign for the just pastors to be using yeah I never even heard of docent dated until four or five days ago. As of this recording, and a friend of mine texting me all weekend, so I clicked on it and I have to go to the way back machine to see the endorsement of JD Greer because that's apparently been removed now from the website so I never even heard of until less than a week ago but yet they have a team of seminary trained guys in maybe gals too. I don't know. You can basically as a pastor you can say I need help with this.

I need understand understanding of this text need to do research on the estimate anywhere from just some basic research into an issue or topic, or a van or something like that all the way up to completely writing your sermon for you, and I was struck by the website because they actually say all Marriott. This is on the way back machine again they might be your only currently the current website.

Now I don't know but they actually say that we will we will tailor your message to your particular theological commitments.

In other Whitehurst you tell us what your theology is and will massage the text to fit your theology. That is the exact opposite way that you're supposed to study the Bible when I study God's word. I cannot come to God's word with my preconceived theology and enforced at all to the text. Theology is supposed to be shaped by the text itself. I'm supposed to get the meaning out from the text. That's exegesis. That's what we should be doing and docent website bragged about Christ Jesus reading theology into the tech so far say I am a charismatic and can you help me craft a sermon from first Corinthians 13,000 charismatic. Apparently they will do that for you for price or exam cessation just like you helping with a message from first 2013 from sensations perspective they would do that to so I just shake my head at the layers of deception and error and sin involved in this is just as a deep dark well that we have begun appearing to I heard someone I read someone on the Internet pastor himself say that this turns pastors from being theologians getting into the word and mining out God's truth, led by the Holy Spirit for their congregations, from theologians to thespians makes them basically actors up there. They have the content fed to them, they memorize it, and they regurgitated out to the congregation just last question for you Justin and Justin peters has been our guest today here on the Christian will view the website is Justin does really encourage you to get in touch with this ministry. Sign up for their E newsletter be a great way to stay informed with that, the preaching and teaching adjustments. Justin does all over the world. We haven't even gotten to many the topics that we often discuss with him the health, wealth and prosperity move want to do that for another time, but the final question Justin is God, rejection in this country seems to have accelerated in the last year and 1/2. It's always been there always humanities rejecting God, but there seems to be an increase just acceleration of it. With regards to culvert 19 and the way that's been used to consult consolidate government power and racial animosity and resentment, and critical race theory that's in the mainstream society we see some of that bleeding into the church but just with a situation like this going on the evangelical church we just really want the church to be a beacon of light and hope and truth and grace in a darkening culture was where needs to be. So as we conclude today what is your encouragement to pastors as they hear about this plagiarism scandal. What is your encouragement to Christians in this moment for how we can stand strong in and be everything that God wants us to be. During this darkening time line encouragement to pastors would be to do your own study your own writing. You got to be in the word of God. You've got to wrestle with the tags and it is not a chore dated it so yes, it's time consuming, but this is what we as preachers do extensive joy is an absolute joy to be able to study God's word and plumb the depths of it.

This is why pastors are paid basically. So it frees them up to have the time to do that important and precious work of studying God's word. That's why pastors get paid so they don't have to be a mechanic or an electrician or a dentist or whatever they have the time to study God's Word to feed their flock so I never lose sight of what unimaginable and unspeakable privilege. It is as it is ours as preachers to do that is for the broader evangelical world as a whole and exceeded the just the spiritual climate you know things are good things are bad and they're going to get worse. The Bible does not paint a pretty picture of the spiritual climate as time goes on. It's time to get better.

It's going to get worst things will get darker persecution will come and there's gonna be a lot of apostasy to see some big-name preachers fall away in its it can be discouraging when you see all this spot God is in control, Christ has his church and data.

One of the blessings is been mine as an evangelist. By God's grace and preach the gospel now and 27 different countries and everywhere I go I find good solid churches pastor by faithful man that are doing their work better shepherding their flocks starting to show themselves approved a labor away in the word, and they're not known that they don't have the platforms they don't have the spotlights are not doing being asked to do interviews but they're out there they're known only to their little flocks into the good shepherd himself.

Christ, but they are there. Jesus church is safe. Christ will build his church and none of this will hinder that process. Christ will build his church and so it can be discouraging if you see the headlines in the papers and known twitter and all I can stuff but rest assured that God is in control. There are good churches out there there faithful shepherds out there in the work of the gospel and the progress of the church goes out. Justin, thank you for that truthful reminder that encouragement here at the end of the program when it's so easy to get disappointed and discouraged by by Christian leaders in compromise to know there are those out there and there probably many who just as you say don't make the headlines are faithfully mining the truth out of the word each week and preaching it, which is the power for for regular Christians, listing out there to stand strong and live a sanctified life. So Justin, we thank you for coming on the Christian real view.

Today we thank you for all the wonderful God glorifying work you are doing a Justin peters ministries.

We wish all of God's best, and grace to you dated, thank you so very much. May God bless you as well appreciate your work. We are almost out of time. But let's remember what James chapter 3 says let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. There is a higher standard for those who preach the word of God in their lives, their character and their doctrine and this is a test of the situation with Ed Lytton of whether those in Christian leadership still believe that in about the qualifications for a pastoring Christian leader. Thank you for listening to today's program.

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