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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

21 August 2005

The Case of the Plagiarizing Pastor

Q: I compared our pastor’s newsletter article with an article written by Chuck Colson. The latter made up, word for word, over half of my pastor’s article, with no credit given to Mr. Colson. How do I bring this up to my church? Should I talk to an elder first?

A: While great (and sometimes not-so-great) minds do often think alike, if a large number of phrases line up between the two writings, I imagine that your suspicions are correct. So read Matthew 18:15-20, pray, then go by yourself to talk with your pastor. Tell him your concerns and give him opportunity to explain himself and apologize to you and the congregation. Completing this, I hope you have “gained your brother (v. 15)” and encouraged him to practice scholarly integrity, which is the same as integrity in any other part of life. As you demonstrate, it’s not wrong to quote other sources; it is wrong to do so without proper citation.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


Blogger Rev. Todd Peperkorn said...

Then urge him to plagarize better authors! Chuck Colson. Yeesh....

26 August, 2005 11:05  

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