Ethics: Sermon Illustration Used as Real Personal Experience

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What would you do Wednesday!

It’s Sunday morning just before worship service begins. As you talk to some friends, you remember the joke you read on a blog last night about a pastor, a rabbi and a priest fishing together.

You begin telling the joke, but the music starts so you have to finish afterward.

Worship service begins and a wonderful time of worship feeds your soul.

Toward the end of sermon the preacher begins an illustration to help make a particular point. The illustration turns out to be a joke – the same joke you read last night on a clean jokes blog. However, the preacher did not just tell the joke. He claimed that he was the preacher who went fishing with the priest and the rabbi. He claimed that this fishing trip actually happened. He claimed the trip as his own real, personal experience.

The sermon ends, the last hymn sung, worship service is over. One of your friends turns to you and jokes, “Hey, did you steal that joke from the preacher’s sermon notes? Seriously, what were you saying before service began?”

What would you do?

  • Not worry about the story because it made a good point.
  • Not worry and tell the joke to my friends without explanation.
  • Skip telling the friends and prayerfully consider how to approach the pastor.
  • Stand up and finish the joke during the sermon exposing the pastor’s integrity.
  • Or…
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The above article was posted on December 5, 2012 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nathaniel King December 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Skip telling the friends and prayerfully consider how to approach the pastor.
The issue is really about honesty. A preacher should be honest in the pulpit, if not there, where? I don’t think it’s wrong to use the joke to make a point, but the point remains the same without lying about it and making it about himself. The pulpit is for preaching the Word, sermons should be as absolutely truthful as possible. After all we are proclaiming His Truth! That pastor also seems a little self-centered if he feels the need to make it about himself.

2 Bennett Willis December 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Apparently this issue is common with some pastors. They take printed stories and modify them to be theirs. Oddly, the story would almost always do just as good without being “theirs.” I think that Nathaniel has it right. I do think that this should be discussed with the pastor. S/he needs to stop this before someone embarrasses them “in public” or through gossip.

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