LE3 .A278 2019
Doctor of Ministry
Acadia Divinity College
This thesis explores the implications of taking someone else’s sermon, with and without permission, removing it from the context it was intended for, and preaching it as one’s own. Most commonly in such discussions the interpersonal ethics are the focus. It is argued here, however, that the most important consideration when clergy preach someone else’s sermon is often overlooked, which is the Godward implications. The most serious crime of preaching someone else’s sermon is that it robs the preacher and the congregation of God’s unique word to them for their context. God desires to speak to his people and by preaching someone else’s sermon the preacher muffles or even mutes God’s voice. In order to better understand how this issue affects evangelical churches in Atlantic Canada two surveys were conducted among clergy and congregants. From these surveys it was discovered that clergy regularly do consult the sermons of others in their own sermon preparation, that the expectations of clergy and congregants concerning how long it should take to prepare a sermon differ, and finally that congregants care most about the quality of the sermon preached each Sunday rather than the process of how that sermon came in to being. As a way to help both clergy and congregations recommit themselves to the task of Biblical preaching and become better informed of the implications of not giving the act of preaching the primacy and attention it deserves, a Preaching Covenant is proposed. This Preaching Covenant would both educate and help preachers and congregations work together towards enhancing the preaching ministry of the church.
The author grants permission to the University Librarian at Acadia University to reproduce, loan or distribute copies of my thesis in microform, paper or electronic formats on a non-profit basis. The author retains the copyright of the thesis.