In case you missed it, last week, Reformation Charlotte broke the story that the newly-elected Southern Baptist president, Ed Litton, had plagiarized JD Greear’s 2019 Romans 1 sermon downplaying the egregiousness of sexual sin and saying that the Bible only “whispers” about homosexuality. In Greear’s sermon, he took a quote from Jen Wilkin, who said that we ought to “whisper” about what the Bible “whispers” about and “shout” about what the Bible “shouts” about, and that the Bible appears to only “whisper” about homosexuality while it “shouts” about other sins, such as greed, boasting, and materialism.
It turns out that Ed Litton didn’t just plagiarize that line, but, according to Greear’s own words, Ed Litton copied nearly the entire sermon and he gave Litton permission to do so. Greear writes in a statement on the controversy:
…Pastor Ed Litton reached out and told me that he had really appreciated my take on Paul’s warnings in that chapter and asked if he could use some of the content with his congregation, as well as how we had broken down our entire series on Romans at The Summit Church. I told him that whatever bullets of mine worked in his gun, to use them!
In 2010, JD Greear wrote an article denouncing exactly what Ed Litton did copying Greear’s sermon.
What counts as plagiarism in a sermon? http://bit.ly/c7oLk4— J.D. Greear (@jdgreear) November 10, 2010
That article has now been deleted–however, it still exists on archive.org’s Wayback Machine (and may also exist elsewhere, but not at the original link he tweeted out in 2010). In that article Greear writes:
If I ever preach the gist of another person’s sermon, meaning that I used the lion’s share of their message’s organization, points, or applications, I give credit. I don’t ever think it’s a good idea to preach someone else’s sermon… but in those rare times when you feel like you just can’t help it, you have to give credit. A sermon is a major thought unit. If it’s not yours, you have to acknowledge where it came from.
Ed Litton did not give credit. Despite the fact that Greear now says that he gave Litton permission to use his sermon, it would appear prudent to give credit for using it. This publication, with permission, will quote, rewrite, or even republish in their entirety articles that were written elsewhere; regardless of permission granted, we always cite the source of the quote. Not to do so is plagiarism–in Litton’s case, it’s merely “plagiarism with permission.”
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That being said, Litton issued a statement of his own, acknowledging that he used the sermon without proper attribution, apologizing for “mentioning J.D.’s generosity and ownership of these points,” and that he “should have given him credit as I shared these insights.”
So Greear seems to be just fine with sermon plagiarism without attribution now while ten years ago, he was…
Read entire article here.
Original article posted by staff at Reformation Charlotte. Title altered by BereanNation.com.