Monday, March 02, 2009

Pulpit Plagiarism Illustrated

It has been sometime since I commented on this, though I continue to get emails from church members who have discovered that this is what their pastors are doing.
I was just informed of this amazing video (from this post and my friend Jrazz) illustrating two speakers who are telling the same story as personal experience. This sort of example comes down to a simple issue of integrity.


Joe Thorn said...

Wow. I'd love to hear their response. Is it true for at least one of them?

Ray Van Neste said...

Good question Joe. I don't know. If anyone else has heard of any response from those shown here, please weigh in and let us know.

Anonymous said...

The YouTube comments suggest it was only plagiarised by one of them.

Ray Van Neste said...

Joe Thorn helped me to find the audio of an pology from the guy in this video who plagiarized. It seems it is avialbel at several sources. Here is where I saw it in part of a long article on the topic:

I am glad to see that the pastor owned up to what happened, apologized, called it wrong, vowed not to do it again and asked his peopel to hold him accountable. That is the right way.

This whole incident stands as a good warning to guard against the easy slide into falsehood.

Craig Thompson said...

Great post. This is an issue that must be corrected in the church. I would love to hear their response. See our article at

Anonymous said...

Did Tadd really own up to what happened? Did he call his sin for what it was? Lying! Rehearsing a lie and then delivering the lie in multiple services. This was a public sin and Tadd should have been more forthcoming in his "apology" and "confession". Go back and listen again to what he said when he apologized. He didnt say he lied, he said he didnt cite his source and he was not truthful. He should have been more specific because it minimizes his sin and makes his congregation wonder about what he did and draw the conclusion that all he did was not cite his source when the matter runs MUCH deeper.

There are many disturbing issues at hand:

1. The biblical qualifications of a pastor to be above reproach. Rehearsing a lie in preparation of delivering a sermon and then delivering the lie in multiple services. This is disturbing and one would have to wonder if Tadd has lied in other sermons that he has delivered but was not caught in a lie like he has been in this one. That is why a pastor is to be beyond reproach because it brings his integrity into question and can ultimately hurt the cause of the Gospel.
2. Pastors today seem to want to redefine what “plagiarism” is. here is a good article:

Again, a pastor should cite his source regardless of whether the original author gave permission or not to use his sermon. In the academic world if I write a paper and sell it and give the buyer permission to pass off my work as his, it does not excuse the person should he get caught. Pastors should have more integrity than the world in this area. The expectation of most congregations out there is not that the pastor download a sermon and then pass it off as his own. AND pastors are reaping praise and financial gain from these as well and all the while remaining quiet as to the practice that they are engaged in.
3. The sermon series in which Tadd LIED, and lets call it what it is, was from November. Tadd only apologized AFTER he was caught. Would Tadd have apologized if he was never caught? Would he out of conviction, confessed to his congregation if not for being exposed for lying? AND in both “apologies” Tadd never did fully acknowledge his sin before the congregation whom he sinned against. Tadd only said he didn’t cite his source. When in fact, he LIED. He should have been completely open with his congregation about his sin. Tadd never used the words, “I LIED”.

Where is the belief in the power of the Holy Spirit through preaching of the Gospel? Tadd just finished a series called, “Bringing Sexy Back”.

This whole integrity and lying issue is just another by-product of sermon plagiarism. And why people need to denounce this shameful practice and stop rationalizing, justifying, and enabling other “pastors” to engage in it.

Christian Menowar said...


Adam Winters said...

While I'm sure the story itself is common to many Christians who have attended youth services or camps, it's painfully obvious that at least one person isn't telling the truth.

I take it the pastor named Tadd Grandstaff is the one who plagarized, based on comments. Regardless of any of his other merits, I simply don't believe I could believe anything else this man told me and don't believe I could sit under his preaching. His intent was clearly to imply (or state explicitly) that the story was about him. He and his church do need prayer above all.

Adam Winters said...

P. S.

Dr. Van Neste, when I saw the title of your post, I thought you had started a new magazine dedicated to this topic! Sadly, I'm sure there are more than enough examples of the practice to warrant a monthly publication.

Pastor Klay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christian Menowar said...

This is tragic. One's testimony to salvation is something very dear to them normally. It's strange that somebody use someone else's instead. Does anybody know if the whole sermon was copied or only that story? Also I wonder what y'all think about Friel posting the thing. When he posted, I'm thinking he didn't know who was guilty and who was not and I'm sure that at first, a few eyebrows were raised towards both gentleman. Isn't this similar to what got Edwards in trouble? Failing to make a distinction between the guilty and not guilty ones? Would a blogger have the responsibility to contact both gentlemen with the matter before going public or does this fall straight in the category of "shooting the wolf"? Wonder what your thoughts are.

Adam Winters said...

Good points, Menowar. This is a matter that should really be fully investigated before numerous allegations and suspicions get aroused and reputations get tarnished without warrant.

I think the fault would probably primarily lie with the absence of any sort of disclaimer on TheWretchedNetwork's youtube account. Of course, I appreciate them putting the video together and uploading it, but the title itself appears to accuse both preachers. I sent them a message requesting they update the video description and encourage others to do the same. This is, after all, a matter of integrity. Let us not be found guilty of the same faults with which we criticize others.

Pastor Klay said...

I removed my previous comment. After listening again to the video, the story stops short of describing a salvation testimony. This, however, does not mitigate the issue of plagiarism.

As to the propriety of posting the video without a disclaimer, I would suggest three thoughts. First, neither man is actually identified. Second, since the original videos were posted in the public domain, they could be seen as open to public comment without necessarily going to the persons individually. Third, to make a disclaimer would actually call more attention to the men personally rather than to the problem of plagiarism itself.

Just my thoughts ...

DoneWithReligion said...

I have documented at leat 17 occurrences of direct, word-for-word, printed plagiarism by a local pastor in Tallahassee, FL. His favorite sources are Dwayne Vanderklok and Paula White. This pastor uses their subject title and scripture selections in addition to the EXACT worded article. He opens each devotional with "Dear Family," and closes with "God Bless, Pastor ...". He has never offered one word of acknowledgement to the original authors. This problem continues to this day!
The first thing that comes to my mind is IIPeter 2:2,3

DoneWithReligion said...

I have tried to gently uncover this problem with the Tallahassee pastor, without causing him any embarrassment. After receiving one of his plagiarised messages, I wrote the following email to him in an effort to get his attention:

"That was an awe-inspiring Word from the Lord and I feel blessed that He spoke to me through you. It seems to say exactly what I had just heard from Him. The accuracy of your message was uncanny to the Words I received. Only true prophets can deliver messages of confirmation with such precision.

How does a man with your busy schedule maintain the communication with God that is necessary for such a consistent source of on-time Word for the body?"

His answer proved beyond any doubt that he was lying and plagiarising. He wrote:

"I have to fight for my time with God just like you. I schedule and protect that time because the devil is in the busy work. Busyness is one of the enemies pitfalls that he get great men of God to neglect what is most important, their time in the secret place. I pray for your family often, and I look forward to seeing you in the near future.
God Bless, Pastor ..."

He forfeited a great opportunity to declare that the work was not his.

joe said...

Maybe it's the same experience and the problem is with VBS? Oh, the joy of systematically destroying young people with Jesus!