Let Me Take One Cent Back

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  • Yesterday, I ranted about the fact that pulpit plagiarism is unethical. Today, I want to take it back, sort of.

    Indeed, a man should do his own homework and come to the pulpit with the fruit of his own labor. However, as I said yesterday, no one is original. And, ultimately, no preacher should try to be. It should be our goal to simply be faithful and clear when we stand to preach or teach. The Lord really doesn’t ask us to be cute, clever, or creative in our ministry of the word. Now, that doesn’t mean that we should bore the people with the gospel. It means that we must remember that our preaching should exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, not our pulpit brilliance. So we should not try so hard to have our own “voice” that the congregation is not able to encounter the Christ as they listen to the sermon.
    We live in a day where there are so many resources available, no one has an excuse for not being prepared. And we must be so proud or foolish that we refuse to accept help.

    Personally, I try to share my material as freely as I can. I am not very possessive about my work. I feel that if I have said or written something that can help you in your presentation of the word, by all means, use it. If my bullets fit your gun, load up and shoot! I trust that my work has enough of my fingerprints on it (which includes both my strengths and my weaknesses), that if someone is going to use my material effectively, he must edit it heavily and determine what works best for him. And if they find it easy to use my material, I am complimented. I think it means my work is “portable.”

    I guess I am trying to say that we are in this thing together. And the burden of weekly preparation is so difficult that we should seek to help one another in any we can – and we should look for help from wherever we can find it.

    Urgent warning for all preachers and teachers: Sunday’s coming!!!


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.