Sunday, September 23, 2007


SHOULD PREACHERS CITE THEIR SOURCES?

I went to a traditional mega church for Sunday service. The rain did not douse my enthusiasm for wanting to go. My wife and I jumped into a taxi and made our way to the church.

It was stewardship Sunday. I was impressed by the flow of the service. The sermon and the challenge to give by faith was tastefully done. There was no heavy sell and the congregation were not manipulated or forced to give. The amount raised, a cool six figures, was staggering!

But what left me uncomfortable was the absence of citations in the sermon. Half the content was lifted from a secular book. The same phrases and words were used. Even the title of the book coincided with the title of the sermon!

What's the problem in not citing the source of a major insight in one's sermon. Not doing so is plagiarism. And besides, doesn't citing a source give the impression to the congregation that the sermon is well researched?

Inspite of this lapse, the message was edifying: persevere in all the little things which eventually tip the Lord's blessing toward us. A meatier biblical content would have given the message a bigger punch.

I'm a little puzzled as to why the source was not cited during the preaching.

Is this a common practice in Singapore churches?

2 comments:

blogpastor said...

I do not cite stories I use for illustrations or even outline ideas which I modify or use in full as I usually flesh it out with my life experiences and color it with my perspective and values. If it lends weight to my argument to do it, I will. After all this is not a term paper or thesis, but a sermon, and sometimes it is a rojak of stuff from books, tapes and seminars etc which I cannot remember even if I tried. I don't know about other pastors or preachers.

raphael said...

hmnn...even i don't cite all my sources also because my stuff is mostly a mixture of many sources.

But on this occasion the bulk of the sermon material came from ONE SOURCE.