As the Southern Baptist Convention has been rocked with controversy over plagiarism, it’s easy to think that the extent of the problem is merely repeating someone else’s words. There is another aspect to plagiarism that often gets overlooked: Pulpiteering.
Philip Doddridge in his work “On the Delivery of Sermons” provides an extensive warning against theatrical preaching and its destructive consequences in the life of the church. Theatrical preaching occurs when a preacher attempts to “transport into the views, the feelings, and the circumstances of the person represented.” Theatrical preaching is the practice of acting what one is saying. It’s extremely detrimental to the spiritual life of the church.
Many a pastor has fallen into the trap of becoming an artificial reproducer of another man’s ministry. As the pastor surveys the broad spectrum of our American church landscape, he witnesses certain pastors who have received great attention in their ministries. These “successes” function as a sort of landmark that many pastors desire to achieve. If it’s worked over there, why wouldn’t it work over here?
When this sinful desire is left unchecked, the pastor can easily compromise by attempting to reproduce in himself the ministry of the man who has most inspired him—how it feels, sounds, and functions. The pauses are attention getting, the hand gestures are mesmerizing, and the use of vocal expressions are dramatic and overtly expressive. The imitation has been remarkably accomplished by the pastor. Read more»
Chris Gordon | “Doddridge on Fake Preaching” | Abounding Grace Radio| July 2, 2021
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