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 Plagiarism forces resignation of preacher

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The senior pastor at one of Charlotte's best-known churches admitted that parts of some of his sermons broadcast on Christian radio programs were stolen from others.

The Rev. E. Glenn Wagner of Calvary Church resigned, admitted that depression led him to plagiarize sermons the past two years, and asked for forgiveness in a letter read Sunday in his absence at four worship services.

"On a number of occasions, when I felt literally empty and devoid of any creative ability, I used material from the sermons of some of my brother preachers," Wagner's letter said.

Gary Hubler, clerk of the lay leaders who oversee the church, said Wagner's plagiarism was first detected two weeks ago. That's when a church elder heard a radio sermon that sounded like something he had heard Wagner preach.

In his letter, Wagner, 51, cited "a downward spiral, emotionally and mentally, which left me very tired and discouraged and fighting a losing battle with depression."

Billy Graham's father, Frank, was one of the church's founders, which began in 1939 as Bible Presbyterian.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/9/6 14:49Profile
KingJimmy
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 Re: Plagiarism forces resignation of preacher

How sad. I just recently read a book by him called "Escape from Church, Inc." Even though the book was a little disappointing, it was a step in the right direction. It is sad to see though he got caught up in the professionalism of the ministry that he abhored. It's especially sad because Calvary Chapel is quite a large Church here in Charlotte.


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Jimmy H

 2004/9/6 19:08Profile
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 Re:

Just to clarify, it seems that it's a Calvary Church and not a Calvary Chapel. There is a difference. I grew up in a Calvary Church and later went to a Calvary Chapel.

This is a pretty sad story but I appreciate the pastor's honesty and humility. It would probably be very helpful to the Body of Christ at large if a lot more pastors who are dealing with similar struggles got real and just admitted it.

But I haven't walked in their shoes and it's easy to say that from this end. They probably realize that doing so could really destroy some families and people's faith. So they probably just keep quiet, hoping that God will bring them through the drought and they can kind of hide it from the people in the meantime. THey probably have the people's best interest in mind and have good intentions of keeping quiet. A very sad situation.

 2004/9/6 19:49Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
This is a pretty sad story but I appreciate the pastor's honesty and humility. It would probably be very helpful to the Body of Christ at large if a lot more pastors who are dealing with similar struggles got real and just admitted it.


I think we would ALL be shocked if pastors were honest all together. Many in ministry have replaced the work with the walk. Replaced human means for the working of the Holy Spirit. We all need to realize to abide in Christ will allow us to be fruitful for him, spend hours pastor. How futile and ridicilous it is to do ministry without God.. doing it for God without God, I have seen a sad thing under the sun...


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/9/6 19:59Profile
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 Re:

I know this is a serious topic and I don't mean to be frivolous but there is a saying that plagiarism is when you steal ideas from another person; but if you steal from two it is research!

There's a story (somewhat scrambled in my mind) of an occasion during one of Spurgeon's periodic bouts of depression. He once described himself as one of those whom 'melancholy had marked for her own' [Grey's Elegy]. On his occasion he was holidaying in Scotland and visited a small baptist church. He sat at the rear and the preacher did not recognise him until the farewells at the door. Spurgeon shook his hand warmly and thanked him for his preaching. The young pastor blushed and said "Mr Spurgeon you must know where that sermon came from. It is one of your own." Spurgeon said "I know, but it was a peculiar blessing of God to bring back to me bread that I had cast upon the water at such a time as this".


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Ron Bailey

 2004/9/7 4:06Profile
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 Re:

I agree this sounds quite sad,not knowing the full story its hard to pass comment.I will say though,Many things or ilistrations or allegories that i've heard, I have used,not to copy, but to enhance my sermon.Iron sharpens iron,and things said by another can be exactly what your'e thinking.I have often said "Yes thats right,thats what i need to say" after reading a thread on this site or hearing someone speak,whic has unlocked a thing.Maybe this brother was quoting word for word,thats different
Ecc 1 v 10 Is there anything wherof it may be said,see,this is new? It hath been already of old time,which was before us. :-)


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derek Eyre

 2004/9/7 5:45Profile
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 Re:

I agree with Delboy. After all, if the messagbe from a brother minister comes from the Spirit, then it is for all the people. The line is drawn, however, when a large portion of the sermon is delivered word for word. The best way to avoid plagerism, even for a small part of the sermon, is to acknowledge the source. When you use someone elses words and claim them as your own that is being dishonest. Trust the Spirit to give you the words.

Ed


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Ed Price

 2004/9/7 8:45Profile
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 Re:

Plagiarism...not to make light, but,

1. Vance Havner said-"A young preacher determined in his first church to be original or nothing and found out he was both!!"

2. I wish the preacher at the church I attend would engage in plagiarism and preach some of the great sermons found here than have to listen to the drivel I get week to week.

 2004/9/7 10:31Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
1. Vance Havner said-"A young preacher determined in his first church to be original or nothing and found out he was both!!"


haha I love it!

Quote:
2. I wish the preacher at the church I attend would engage in plagiarism and preach some of the great sermons found here than have to listen to the drivel I get week to week.


AMEN I think for a preacher to preach an exisiting sermon is ok, but its of necessity that they tell people first off it was a sermon by so and so. Not trying to say its their own. But all things come from God in the end I suppose. I have been tempted to ask my preacher to just preach a wesley or whitefield sermon word for word.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2004/9/7 10:49Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Plagiarism...not to make light, but,

Quote:
1. Vance Havner said-"A young preacher determined in his first church to be original or nothing and found out he was both!!"

Quote:
2. I wish the preacher at the church I attend would engage in plagiarism and preach some of the great sermons found here than have to listen to the drivel I get week to week.



:-P That's good Brian.
Don't understand what is so difficult about giving credit where credit is due as Greg alluded to.

Actually found it a bit sad that this preacher felt compelled to resign over this. If I recall correctly he did say '[i]at times'[/i] he lapsed into this. Am almost reluctant to bring this up and slowly peel off the lid of a can of worms here but there is a site I am thinking of from a very popular ministry that will give you whole guidelines, outlines for sermons that correspond to a particular train of current popular thought...am purposefully trying to be vague here, but might have given myself away...What I am driving at is that though it could been seen as something to 'help' it seems to have had the opposite effect of promoting laziness. Someone had pointed it out to me and I was a bit shocked to see it used almost verbatim. Headings, outlines, printed out into nice little hand outs for the congregation...fill in the blanks kind of thing. Worse, you can have the whole year planned out in this fashion. In other words, pre-packaged sermons. So I don't see where this pastor has failed when this kind of thing is so rampant.

I hope he is restored not only spiritually and emotionally but also returns to the pulpit, we need more honest preachers like him. Hope we all pray for him.


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Mike Balog

 2004/9/7 11:22Profile





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