A unique perspective to bring to the table on Ed Litton’s scandal of ripping off JD Greear’s sermons is a local pastor who does the hard work week in and week out. Pastor Troy Skinner, a pastor of a local church in Maryland, joins the Evangelical Dark Web to discuss sermongate which was a launching pad for a larger discussion on industrialized sermons and the nature of preaching.
Though the instance in reference is Ed Litton, the answer to this question applies to all instances. Pastor Troy wanted to make clear that just because a pastor sins does not make them disqualified for ministry. Being brought to repentance can make them a better pastor. The other issue with the term plagiarism is that it is largely an academic categorization of sin. With these actions one could be stealing someone else’s work and then passing it off as their own (false witness). Another issue of concern is what if the sermon was bought and then finished by the pastor. This is an entire industry whereby pastors can purchase sermons. Pastor Troy cautions us about being too dogmatic in drawing conclusions.
But a key concern that would lead to disqualification is the inability to teach. If someone is consistently making it a habit to not go through Scripture to write there own sermons it calls in to question their ability to preach as well as their own daily commitment to studying God’s Word.
Dangers of Industrialized Sermons
While Ed Litton clearly ripped off of JD Greear, JD Greear appears to also not write his own sermons. An obvious danger that was addressed in the discussion is the centralization of sermons, meaning that pastors outsourcing their sermon prep leads to more uniformity in the messages on Sunday morning. So if the industries providing this material are corrupt, then the information they are distributing will likely be compromised.
The Work of a Pastor
One can easily underestimate the work that goes into a sermon, as a sermon is supposed to be done. Careful study of the text, research of the history, commentaries, and then providing a useful tie-in to the audience and the church, and above all connecting the text with the metanarrative of Scripture (the gospel).
This leads to a discussion of whether to pursue topical or expository preaching. Topical being a sermon about a topic, and expository being a sermon about a text. Pastor Troy has done both but primarily practices expository preaching. Expository preaching has it’s advantages in being able to go deeper into understanding a text whereas topical preaching can address a specific moment of great importance to the congregation, an extreme example being the Sunday after September 11th. But Troy stated that expository preaching took longer to prepare, from his experience.
Ed Litton represents a small cog in a large industrial machine. Though because he is now president of the Southern Baptist Convention, this issue has been brought to light. This is all the reason to make sure you have a good pastor serving you and to appreciate their efforts.
Big Tech censorship has been expanding beyond just Conservatives… Christians are next!
While many of us have been warning about the coming persecution of Christians, I don’t think any of us thought that it would be ramping up so quickly. While we are luckily not facing physical persecution yet, such as beatings or death, we are facing censorship, deplatforming and even jail time in some instances. These are just the birth pangs of what is coming next.
While we still have a voice here at The GateKeepers, we are doing everything that we can to bypass the algorithmic walls put up by Big Tech and the Social Media companies like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Our videos used to get thousands of views across all of our platforms, while now they are being throttled and hardly getting distributed at all. An added wrinkle is that, while our video content is seeing lower views, traffic to our website has never been higher. Over the past year we’ve seen a 700% increase in traffic, and it’s been amazing to experience this kind of growth. Because of this, we’ll be launching GKTV very soon, hosting all of our shows exclusively on our platform.
While The GateKeepers started out as nothing more than a blog for me to post my articles, it has now expanded into a podcast network featuring fifteen shows, a publishing company that has published three books over the past year and we are now hosting conferences on a regular basis. We’ve seen the addition of contributors to The GateKeepers such as Denise McAllister, Pastor Cary Gordon, Pastor Ken Peters, Dr Mike Spaulding, Dr Bobby Lopez and many other amazing Christian leaders. Our lineup of shows has expanded, as well, featuring shows such as The Shining Light Podcast, Conversations with Jeff, The Big Brown Gadfly, Battlefront: SouthGate and The Verum Monitae Report with Dr Mike Spaulding, in addition the the several other shows we also carry on The GateKeepers.
While we’ve seen some amazing growth and expansion, we are also working hard to make this be a long-term play, and with that comes with how to fund our work here. I’ve intentionally not turned The GateKeepers into a non-profit organization because I don’t want to become beholden to the government, and I also don’t want to be focused on sending out fundraising letters constantly begging for money like most non-profit ministries do.
Instead, we have our online book store, are hosting online conferences and have our Plugged In membership program. Right now we are funded exclusively through these three different avenues. We are especially excited about our Plugged In membership, as this brings so much added value to you as a thank you for supporting our work here at The GateKeepers.
Becoming a Plugged In member provides access to the weekly episode of The GateKeepers Podcast, the monthly episode of Connected, free access to all of our online conferences, the recordings from previous online conferences and 30% off in The GK Store. If you would like to support us by becoming a Plugged In member, click here.
However, we’ve also been getting a lot of requests from supporters asking how they can donate to help support The GateKeepers. We are extremely grateful for these requests, as this will help us to expand even further and provide more quality Biblical content. If you would like to help support to The GateKeepers, you can donate through PayPal here.