A Great Story

The 11-08-2005 issue of PreachingNow just hit my inbox. I loved this story, but also appreciated the counsel. I try to document thoroughly what I use from others, but I can't imagine preaching someone else's sermon.

In his new book Preaching: How to Preach Biblically (Thomas Nelson), John MacArthur includes a chapter of frequently-asked questions posed to him about expository preaching. One of his questions deals with documenting ideas we draw from the works of others: "A balance is the ideal. We cannot document every thought in our sermons. On the other hand, we should give credit where due.

"Pastors sometimes ask me if they can use my material. I have given them blanket permission for anyone to use my sermons and preach them in whole or in part if they wish, and I do not want any credit as the source. If what I say has value to someone, I am honored for him to use it for God's glory. The truth is all His.

"Yet if someone re-preached one of my sermons without enriching it by going through the discovery process, that sermon will inevitably be flat and lifeless. The great Scottish preacher Alexander Maclaren once went to hear another man preach, a young man with a reputation for being a gifted preacher. Much to Maclaren's surprise, the young man said at the outset of his message, 'I've had such a busy week that I had no time to prepare a sermon of my own, so I'm going to preach one of Maclaren's.' He did not know Maclaren was in the audience until Maclaren greeted him afterward. He was very embarrassed and became even more so when Maclaren looked him in the eye and said, 'Young man, I don't mind if you are going to preach my sermons, but if you are going to preach them like that, please don't say they are mine.'


Scott said...

Another one to make me smile. Blessings to you in your ministry Pete.