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1PointPreacher Ep. 28 - Pulpit Plagiarism: Approved to God



1 Point Preacher
Episode 28

Show Notes:

2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and teaching.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Continuing the theme of diligence and work.

The pastor's constant labor, his focus, is to present himself approved to God.
Maybe the pastor is after the approval of people, rather than of God. That's why he's not diligent.

The pastor cannot seek the approval of men and afterwards harvest the approval of God.

Be faithful in ministry, and leave the results to God.

What will inevitably follow the exposure of plagiarism? Shame.
You don't have to feel shame in order to be ashamed in the eyes of God. Is Joel Osteen ashamed for being a false teacher?

Can you look at your work as a preacher—how you spend your time, study, exegete the text and your people, slaving over the structure of a sermon—without shame?
Is your work commendable in the eyes of the Lord?
"This is faithfulness according to my gifting and ability."

Accurately handling the word of truth.
The plagiarizing pastor is barely handling the word of truth at all.
He's not doing the work to verify an accurate handling of the word from the preacher he's stealing from.

The tone is set: "a solemn charge in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus"

The charge itself: preach the word
Preaching, and everything involved in it. Preparation, work, study, suffering. Like a soldier, athlete, farmer.

If you can't preach the word, you're not fit for the office.

If you are plagiarizing, you have said "no" to this solemn charge.
Sin is any want of conformity unto . . . the law of God." (WSC 14)
Not doing what God requires.
The plagiarizing pastor is just doing what makes him happy.

A pastor who diligently studies can "be ready in season and out of season."
Listening to other pastors, reading commentaries, is a lot of work—you have to check it by the Word.
Start with the Bible first. Check yourself by other people later.

Study the text.
Outline the text.
Get the point of the text, maybe even the sermon point and outline.
THEN check others to make sure you aren't the heretic.

Going in reverse, taking a short-cut, actually creates more work.

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C&CW Ep. 35 - Dealing with your past, pt. 4



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 35

Show Notes:

Abuse of power, in an unbiblical system of church government—one man with unchecked authority.
"God doesn't need you," and "no one is indispensable." That's unbiblical.

When you don't have a worldview that is Christian, your basis is that of the world and you talk the same way. Pastors speak like motivational speakers.

We use our experience to point to God, to trust in God. Their backgrounds will be different, but you have God's Word, and it's his power.
Teach people to depend on God in the midst of trouble.

Instead of taking your past and saying "be like me." Experience is not the foundation. We don't tell people to follow our pattern.
Scripture is enough, and is always the foundation.

Why talk about this? The motive is for help, teaching, warning, instruction, and comfort for those currently going through it.

"Experience is not the best teacher; evaluated experience is."
—Howard Hendricks

We evaluate our experience through the Word of God. Then we use it to help other people.

If it's a common experience, we'll bring it up. How does God's Word apply to it?

Those who object to using the past cannot evaluate theirs in light of the Word. They don't teach and don't want others to.

"Leaving what is behind" is not positive thinking.
That's a misuse of Scripture.

Sentimentalism will backfire. You can only pretend for so long before you get a rude awakening.

Many evangelicals are not equipped to handle this biblically.

You have to be taught how to encourage and comfort others.

Interpret the past according to Scripture, and use it to help other believers.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 27 - Pulpit Plagiarism: Training Men



1 Point Preacher
Episode 27

Show Notes:

5th installment in the "Pulpit Plagiarism" series (Ep. 21–24)

2 Timothy 2:2, And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

The continuing theme of "able to teach."

The pastoral office includes training the next generation. The pastor must be able to teach, and look for other men who are also able to teach.

If a pastor has been plagiarizing—not been exercising his gift, demonstrating that he is able to teach—how exactly would he be able to pass on this teaching to faithful men?

Many could recognize the ability to teach. A pastor should especially be able to spot that gift. That's what happened with Paul to Timothy.

Continue that pattern of identifying men, and training other pastors. This is how pastoral succession should happen.

For the plagiarizing pastor: what would he have to pass on? Would he even make the attempt to raise young men for the same role?
Even if he knew homiletics, as far as modeling it and training men by example. And giving critique of their preaching?

Plagiarism is an obstacle to obeying this command of training other men for pastoral office.

You can't apply this if you haven't heard from someone.
This is to happen in church life, in the presence of many witnesses.

How would you know men are faithful if you're not?

"The servant will be like his master."
An unfaithful pastor will replicate unfaithful pastors.
The plagiarizing pastor will not have the will to do what Paul says: entrusting the responsibilities of pastoral office. Everything Paul has written to Timothy—doctrine and practice.
He hasn't been a model of faith.
There won't be any personal, hands-on training in the ministry.

Paul's examples of faithfulness:

  • a good soldier
  • an athlete
  • The hard-working farmer (2 Tim. 2:3–6) These people work hard. Plagiarism is someone else doing the hard work. A real elder training men in everyday settings really shows that he knows what he's talking about.

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C&CW Ep. 34 - Dealing with your past, pt. 3



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 34

Show Notes:

How to use our past appropriately with other people.
You have to deal with it first.

If you haven't dealt with it biblically, but have become bitter, that will come out when you speak with other people.
Not gossiping, not slandering.

Not everyone needs to learn the hard way. We share our experiences so other people don't have to go through the same experiences.

It's like seeing a trap in the way, and saying "look out."

2 Corinthians 1:3–4 (NET)
3 Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles so that we may be able to comfort those experiencing any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

It's not our experience that is primary, but the comfort of God.

"Show me your scars" garbage.
No one should have to earn the right to be heard. "Pay your dues," "earn your stripes," suffer first before you can talk to me, all that may just be spite.

Some people say you're not worthy to talk to me if you haven't experienced this, or younger.

Rather, we should put our experience in proper place.

It's God's comfort, not our comfort primarily. It's God's comfort we bring.

You cannot minimize a child's hurt just because it's nothing for you. You cannot be selective with suffering.

We are not entitled to know the multiplicity of reasons for our suffering. We need to accept the fact that we aren't going to know.
But in 2 Corinthians 1, we are told one of the purposes: so you can comfort others.

Give people God, give them Scripture.

It hurts when we have to watch other people, because we remember our past.

We have to equip people, so they learn how to protect themselves.

What experiences do we share so that people will not get hurt?

Example: 2 young people want to get married. The pastor's wife believes that they need to hear from God prophetically, before they may get married. So the pastor preaches that you "need a verse," instead of rebuking this unbiblical thinking.

By sharing what we've learned and how we've dealt with it, we can give them a heads' up. When it happens to them.
It's emotional. Emotions make thinking harder. Think through it before you suffer through it.

Counsel is different from "do this, do that." You are free to ignore wise advice.

There are many layers that makes the situation very complicated. That's why you take them one at a time.

Making personal experience normative—your individual experience the standard for other people—will ALWAYS lead to abuse.
If a pastor in a church is doing that, it's a personality cult.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 26 - Context: How Much?



1 Point Preacher
Episode 26

Show Notes:

Context—too much.
Not a matter of placement, but volume.

The common slip-up for expository preachers is to give too much information.

It can turn into a break in the preaching of the text; a lecture in the midst of the sermon.

The question: do I need all this?
I may like it, but it doesn't all belong in the sermon.

Too much information will be an obstacle to the congregation, rather than a help.

What is the problem with taking such a large amount of time on context?
In preaching: time = emphasis

The purpose: you said you would teach this, and cover this text. But you just talked about water, that wasn't in the text.

Did I need that in order to understand the text?

A sermon is supposed to move, there should be progression from introduction to conclusion.
When you include 10–15 minutes of context in the body of the sermon, it's like a detour.

Was that context necessary, or just interesting?
We we cut out that time from the sermon recording, would the sermon be comprehensible without it?

Let's be positive: how to use context properly.
How much context is needful?

What is context?
What's going on? The surrounding words, phrases, and verse; before and after.
Consider proportion, given your sermon text and preaching time.
Spend time on what the text spends time on.

What do you need to get through the text?

For preaching in the middle of a book (occasional sermon), give a very brief overview of what came before. It can be as quick as 45 seconds.

Too much context amounts to trivia.
We don't need all the extra-biblical historical information to understand the Bible.

We need to remember that God inspired his Word. He gave it, and it doesn't lack anything.
Explanation depends in large part on how you say it, your phraseology, your education and experience.

If you want to teach a discipleship class / Sunday school and give a 1 hour introduction to the book, then do it.
Because a sermon is not a lecture, nor a seminary class.

Whatever is the point of the text is your point too.
But a lot of times when you're doing a lot of background and context, you lose sight of that.
The purpose of context is to make the point more clear, draw it out.
Not conceal it, drown it out.

Diagnostic question for context: does it align with the exegetical point, or not?
It may be fun and interesting information, but does it draw attention away from the point of the text?

Proper placement of context:
Don't put it all in the front of your sermon.
Context as you go, as needed.

When the text talks about it, talk about it. Don't go back and forth. That takes even more time.

Fit context in the flow of your sermon.

Whatever verse you are at, that's when you include any necessary context to explain that part.

Deliver context in a way that is comprehensible.
How can they understand this, without the hours of study you did that week?

If you are a responsible pastor/elder, you are having regular conversations with your people.
You have so much to teach, but don't forget there are other days and times throughout the week.

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C&CW Ep. 33 - Dealing with your past, pt. 2



Coffee & Christian Worldview

Show Notes:

Appropriately remembering the past, and how to use it correctly.

As the Bible teaches: be honest.

Everyone has a past, behavior they are rightly ashamed of.
Don't pretend it didn't happen.
But not everyone needs to know. It would simply be inappropriate to share that information.

What might be inappropriate to share with everyone?
Example: a Christian man posting that he won't be doing ministry any longer because of a "moral failure." That's all.
Further information is none of your business.

Right to know and need to know.

The Bible does not require a play-by-play confession.

The personal relationship is a factor.
Example: future spouse, and past behavior resulted in having a disease.

Being honest does not mean every detail. But at times, it will be necessary.
Honesty does not mean telling every person.

James 5:16, Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

It doesn't mean not saying anything, ever. Nor does it mean full-disclosure.

What about employing other experiences, dealing with difficult experiences, without obsessing over it?
An unhealthy thinking and meditating on past bad experiences, in a way that affects you presently.

It begins with the Gospel.
The character of God, being all-knowing, sovereign, allows things to happen.
Trust in God, without the answer to "why?"

We categorize.
Deal with it one category at a time. "God knows."
Start with the characteristics of God. He's all-powerful. He's all knowing.
Interpreting your past experience according to the truth of Scripture, rather than interpreting God by your experience.

When something comes back to you, pray. Confess to him, and trust him for his power.

Believe God's grace is sufficient.
Remember God's purpose is our sanctification, our good, and his glory.

Do you "thank God" for that bad experience?
The Bible says "give thanks in" all circumstances. Not for, but in.
1 Thessalonians 5:18, in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Evil is not good, and good is not evil—though evil is used for good.
Evil does not become good.

Romans 8:28, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

Even if you don't understand, trust that God will take care of you.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 25 - Context: When & Where?



1 Point Preacher
Episode 25

Show Notes:


There is such a thing as too much information.
You don't need as much context as you think you do.
And it doesn't have to all be in the front of the sermon.

How much context do you need, and when are you going to get into it?

3 Examples of too much, and at the wrong time.

  1. The Context Lecture A "sermon" introducing a biblical book.

When a new book is started, commonly 1 sermon is delivered to introduce the book. But it may not qualify as preaching, because it's just background information.
Teaching about the text, instead of the text.
Do your people need a geography lesson in order to understand the text?

Best type of the introductory sermon: biblical content, but not from the book being introduced.
That period of biblical history is presented—surrounding biblical context. Setting, circumstances, etc.
Or, the biographical introductory sermon.
Example: before starting the Gospel of Mark, preaching 4 sermons on the Gospel genre, plus 2 sermons on the person of Mark.

Often, these background "sermons" don't qualify as preaching. They are not explanations of the text of Scripture. They can lack application. The Gospel is easily left out.

The question is: was all that information necessary for people to understand the book?
Or could the preacher just not wait to take up context as he goes?

  1. The Context-only Sermon Introduction/Point The introduction of the sermon, or the first point of the sermon, will be entirely context.

Look at your text, and look at your time. Sometimes a preacher will preach only one verse, to make time for all the context.

An introduction is supposed to introduce the whole sermon. To fill it with context contradicts that purpose.

Likewise, the first point/move of the sermon being entirely context. Structurally, it's unhelpful. People are listening, and cannot turn back to review the information.

Do you expect your listeners to hold all that context throughout the whole sermon?

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C&CW Ep. 32 - Dealing with your past, pt. 1



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 32

Show Notes:

A popular teaching: "It's the devil who makes you keep looking back to and dwelling on your past."
But in the Old Testament, you see God often reminding his people of their past.

Philippians 3:12–14
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself as having laid hold of it yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Many people are not counseled well with God's Word, so false gets mixed with true.

It's always good to remind people what God has done for them.

If the "forget your past" was the true understanding, then Paul would have contradicted himself in his own letters! Philippians 3:4–6

You don't ignore the past. But you don't live there either.

"If I bring it up it will jinx me, or be bad luck."
Negative confession."
It's therapeutic thinking, not Christian thinking.

Be thankful for what God has done for us.

Also a misunderstanding of figurative language: God "forgets" our sins. Does it mean he lost knowledge? No.

Throughout the OT, God reminds his people of his mighty acts in their past. And he will also remind them of their sins, their discipline, and his deliverance of them.
And God commands his people to teach this history to their children! "You must not forget!"
Examples: Ebenezer, Passover, Feast of Tabernacles, etc.

This is one way the Christian faith has been "psychologized."
Many pastors are anti-theology, so the people don't get the teaching they need.

You can't be dismissive of all mental issues, like "it's all in your head." The brain is an organ, and God made us physical.

How do we counsel someone who doesn't understand/realize that this is a physical brain issue? Because they are afraid of the mental health profession.
They don't have pastors with discernment.

For a heart problem, you would go to a heart doctor. Why not for the brain?
Ask your network of people, thinking that someone may have a brain-issue, are there any Christian specialists?

We're distinguishing this from dealing with your past.
We're not talking about ignoring, just not dwelling.
But if it's a physical organ problem, be honest about your situation.
You cannot separate the two, because you are a union of body and soul.

Many know this intuitively. Everyone needs to distinguish and recognize both/and. Your physical condition affects your emotional and spiritual state.

Learn to appropriately think about your past.

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1PointPreacher Ep. 24 - Pulpit Plagiarism: Worthy of Double Honor



1 Point Preacher
Episode 24

Show Notes:

The pastoral office is not as respected as other professions; it's not "really work." Unlike physical labor, the labor of study, prayer, sermon preparation is thought to not count.
Are you really worthy of compensation for this "work"?

1 Tim. 5:17–19, The elders who lead well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor at preaching the word and teaching.
For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle the ox while it is threshing,” and “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”
Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.

Those elders who labor in preaching and teaching, and all the study and effort that is included—study of the language, application, crafting a sermon that is edible for the flock. It's hard work.

Who is deserving of respect plus honorarium.
It's talking about respect and money.

NET Bible note: Like the similar use of “honor” in v. 3, this phrase denotes both respect and remuneration: “honor plus honorarium.”

Do you even know if your pastor is working hard at preaching and teaching?
The plagiarizing pastor sounds like he's working hard, but he's lying to the congregation.
Not just on Sunday morning, but about his work-week.

What kind of congregation are you? You should be able to tell good preaching by knowing your Bible.
If you are the congregation that won't give honorarium, you probably wouldn't catch plagiarism.

Paying ministers is not only a New Testament teaching. Paul quotes from the Old Testament and Jesus. The priests made their living from the altar. Christians of a Jewish background would have immediately accepted this from Paul.

What does this have to do with plagiarism? The plagiarizing pastor is not doing the job for which he is paid.

If the pastor has been stealing sermons, not doing his own work but taking the labor of others, is he at all worthy of this double honor?
NO, obviously not.
He's not leading well as a shepherd, and he's not laboring at all in preaching and teaching.
He's not studying, crafting sermons for his sheep. Might as well play a recorded sermon every Sunday. At least that would be honest.

The plagiarizing paster is not just stealing sermons, he's also stealing compensation from his congregation—because he doesn't deserve it.

The people are paying their pastor believing that he works hard, studies hard, researches, thinks about it, prays about it, prays for them.

The plagiarizing pastor is not worthy of either honor.
First, he's disqualified himself as an elder. He should be disciplined, either by temporary or permanent removal from office.
And, he's not laboring in preaching and teaching. If found out, he will have sacrificed the respect that is due his office.
And, he's not doing the work for which he's paid.

A parallel is public, civl office. A civil magistrate that does not govern, punish the wicked, exercise the power of the sword righteously.
Not only does he undermine the ability of his subjects to respect his office, but they should wonder why they are paying him.
"With respect, what are we paying you for?"

What makes this worse is that plagiarism is encouraged in some denominations. Those being stolen from are flattered that another preacher would use their material.

The people expect their pastor to do the work, to feed them as he thinks best. It's his job, not another pastor's job.
And he's getting paid for it.

The point is not getting help from others. The point is stealing and lying, and taking pay anyway.

An easy example: ordering food, but telling your family you cooked it. And posting a video online saying you cooked that meal.

The plagiarizing pastor didn't cook the meal—it's actually catered. But he's pretending that he did. The sheep think this is prepared personally for them.

This calls into question his desire to care for his own sheep.
Does he not want to be a shepherd, at all?
Because he's not doing what shepherds do for the flock.

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C&CW Ep. 31 - Legalism Stories



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 31

Show Notes:

At the end of this series on Liberty of Conscience, we'll bring the principles into concrete situations.

Once upon a time . . .

If a pastor's wife was truly stumbled, what would that mean?

  • weak in biblical knowledge
  • weak in conviction
  • weak in conscience
  • weak in will, moved to imitate

In reality, it was a case of "taking offense." Mere disagreement. A case of legalism.
In using biblical terms in unbiblical ways, it was manipulation.

If you don't break off your relationship, you'll be expelled from the school.
Confrontation by a woman in authority over men.

Lies and false teaching can be believed by anyone, regardless of intelligence and education.

The point: what was done and said was unbiblical.

What about institutions, like schools, that are not churches?
Don't they have the right to their own policies?
Policies can still be sinful.
A "Bible college" is supposed to be a Christian institution.

We are not required to be enrolled in a Christian school.
The abuse of spiritual authority is not the same as a church.
When a school forbids marriage, with the threat of consequences, that is sinful.
It might be within their rules, but it's not right.

The hard question is whether you have allowed people to rule your conscience.

The Bible college was under church authority, and the church acted the same way. The school reflected the local church.

Bible schools are supposed to teach what is in line with God's Word.
Giving a woman authority to forbid marriage between grown adults was in line with the culture.

What authority would these people have to tell you whom to marry?
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and rules through his Word.
For someone to take the place of God and forbid what God calls good is sin, automatically.

That concludes our series on Liberty of Conscience.

BUT, there's always more discussion to be had on this issue.

We are open to questions about specific issues that are adiaphora.

Comment your questions and suggestions!

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1PointPreacher Ep. 23 - Pulpit Plagiarism: Taking Pains



1 Point Preacher
Episode 23

Show Notes:

1 Tim. 4:12–16, Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but show yourself as a model to those who believe in word, conduct, love, faith and purity.
Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.
Do not neglect the gift within you, which was given to you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the council of elders.
Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.
Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Paul gives a well-rounded picture of how one is to live and conduct himself as a pastor.

"show yourself as a model to those who believe in word, conduct, love, faith and purity."
An example, looked to for imitation.
Not to be plagiarized!
Is stealing someone's sermon good conduct for the flock to follow?

The plagiarizing pastor is not being a model in his words—his preaching is fake and deceptive. His conduct, when he should be laboring with the text of Scripture and crafting his sermon, is not exemplary.

Question: why should we reinvent the wheel? Others have done the hard work.
Answer: God's Word doesn't change, the commands are true and valid regardless of time and place. That includes this command from Paul.

"give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the gift within you...Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them...Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things..."
This all speaks to diligence and using the gift.
For the plagiarizing pastor, the "gift" that the congregation thinks they have been hearing is not there. Maybe he has it and is not using it, or doesn't have it at all.
Also, the congregation is that much of a stranger to the pastor. They cannot discern his own words from someone else's.

Plagiarizing goes against what Paul is exhorting to Timothy. Teaching and exhortation take time. Application takes a lot of work. Sermon prep is hard, absorbing work.

"so that your progress will be evident to all."
Almost every preacher starts poorly. But over time, you become better and know your people better.
Your growth in the pastoral office will be clear to everybody.
The plagiarizing pastor is sabotaging himself: he's not growing at all. There is no progress.

"Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things"
Plagiarism compromises integrity.
No attention is paid to his teaching.

When a pastor is guilty of plagiarizing, we should ask about the gift: "Do not neglect the gift within you."
At minimum, plagiarism is a neglect of the gift. How he got there is not the point.
At most, he does not have the gift at all. Nothing to neglect. He was never qualified for office. Plagiarism is a symptom.

Whichever church government is in place needs to go to this factor first: neglecting the gift.
Investigate to determine whether he has the gift in the first place. Probation from the pulpit, and closely examine his sermon preparation process.
Make sure he's not plagiarizing to maintain the act of a pastor.
If he cannot study the Bible, prepare a sermon, and preach, then the only course of action is removal from office.
But if he does have the gift—and he's neglecting it for some reason—then the disciplinary action would be different.

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C&CW Ep. 30 - Responding to Pharisees, pt. 2



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 30

Show Notes:

Jesus also targeted the hypocrisy and their harmful effects in the lives of others.
Pharisees can't live up to God's standards, or their own.
God's law pierces to the heart.

Modern legalists today are no different: an appearance of holiness.

Binding of the conscience beyond the Word of God, taking lordship other believers, is harmful.

The Apostle Paul wrote against it. Jesus publicly argued against them, and called them names—"you brood of vipers."
That's not "nice," but it is Christlike.

For the purpose of correction and instruction, we need to explain our exercise of liberty.
And we must not give in to legalism even for a moment.

WLC 105 Q. What are the sins forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the first commandment are . . . making men the lords of our faith and conscience. . .

It's likely going to be the Legalist that is hostile.
You can never win, unless you give in. You'll never be right in their eyes. They want unconditional surrender.

Admonish, confront, and church discipline (Garry Friesen)

"Jesus never backed off from saying or doing things which were right, even though he knew the Pharisees would take offense at them (cf. Matt. 15:1-14). He kept doing what brought his Father glory and advanced his own Kingdom. At first, when the Pharisees questioned him, Jesus simply explained why he did what he did. But when they started trying to turn people away from following him, Jesus began more directly to rebuke them. He also began to warn others about the Pharisees. He told his disciples to "be on guard" (Matt. 16:6) and to "leave them" (Matt. 15:14). Finally, Jesus openly rebuked the Pharisees."
—Larry Wilson, "That Offends Me!"

When Pharisees in the church don't repent, they must be disciplined.
Because legalism is harmful to the body of Christ, is divisive, and threatens the Gospel itself.

A response depends somewhat on who you are in the church.

Teach. If you see legalism, address it head-on from the pulpit.
If it continues, rebuke it (Matt. 18). If there is conscience-binding, adding to the Word of God, then discipline is in order.
It may end in excommunication.

Of course, you can only do this if the church practices formal church membership.

Ask the person to talk.
Talk to your pastor first, for council as you confront the person one-on-one.

It helps to know the person.
Have a conversation after the worship service.
Reason from the Scriptures.

If the Pharisee continues, treating the rest of the church as unholy, that's when the elders need to step in and deal with it.

Confronting a LEGALIST PASTOR:
What do you do if the elders of the church are Pharisees?
They require what God does not, they forbid what God has given to be enjoyed.
Worst case scenario: Leave.

Ask a question from the Bible. "This is not sin, how can you ask me not to do it?"
They may accuse you of disrespect just for asking.
If they are totally unapproachable, just leave that church.

If you show up to your meeting to talk, and it's an ambush with other people there, just leave.

Pastors should be approachable. Pastors are responsible to answer with gentleness, and patiently instruct.

Ask for the pastor to do his job—teach you about these extra-biblical policies. If that makes him hostile, turn around and get out.

This will be an emotional roller-coaster, but the principles are simple.

The point is:
Faithfulness to God, or faithfulness to men.
Is God alone going to be Lord over your conscience, or are you going to allow men to lord it over?

READ: "Responding to Pharisees"

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1PointPreacher Ep. 22 - Pulpit Plagiarism: Able to Teach



1 Point Preacher
Episode 22

Show Notes:

Plagiarism is always sin, no matter who you are. But it's worse for pastors.

Westminster Larger Catechism
Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
A. Sins receive their aggravations,

  1. From the persons offending: if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others.
  2. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship . . .

When faced with this issue, elders and congregations will try to shirk it off. "It's no big deal." Not bad enough to warrant action.
Say sorry to the few who know, and delete the evidence.
No discipline.

Let's make the case by looking at the pastoral calling, from the Pastoral Epistles.

Plagiarism is a violation and contradiction of the pastoral office.

*Plagiarism violates the pastoral calling:

  1. The requirement of "able to teach"
  2. Holding fast the faithful word, able to exhort and reprove.
  3. faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
  4. Be a model to the congregation
  5. Give attention to public reading, exhortation, teaching
  6. Do not neglect the gift within you
  7. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all
  8. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things
  9. worthy of double honor, especially those who labor at preaching the word and teaching.
  10. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
  11. solemnly charge . . . preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and teaching.
  12. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

As we go through this, keep in mind the prospect of church discipline for the plagiarizing pastor.

Titus 1:5–9 (LSB), For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you,
namely, if any man is beyond reproach, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, who are not accused of dissipation, or rebellious.
For the overseer must be beyond reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of dishonest gain,
but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled,
holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to reprove those who contradict.

1 Timothy 3:2 (LSB), An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,

The skill/ability of teaching must exist. It's not, "be willing to learn" how to teach.
Not knowing or having the ability is not humility—it's called being disqualified.

Able to teach includes sermon preparation.

This is why responsible churches give substantial time to the training of the next generation of pastors—before they ever set foot in the pulpit.
The system of education and training will act as a vetting process. Those who cannot study and are not diligent will drop out.

Can't is the opposite of able. And if you can't teach, then go do something else.

If it has been shown that a pastor has been copying sermons for years, the question is, "why?"

  1. Is he just lazy?
  2. Or is it because he cannot make a sermon for himself?

It just might be because they cannot do job #1 for the pastor—preach the Word.

They'll find their material elsewhere.
Copy an entire sermon, that anyone could find by searching his words on the internet.
Or more sophisticated: a preaching team that creates a collaborative sermon for the "pastor" to deliver.

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C&CW Ep. 29 - Responding to Pharisees, pt. 1



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 29

Show Notes:

How do you deal with Pharisees?
How are you to biblically respond to the individual who seeks to bind your conscience to his or her preferences?

Galatians 2:4–5, false brothers secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us.
But we did not yield in subjection to them for even a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.

In dealing with Pharisees, we should be Christ-like. Amen
Look at how Christ responded to the historical Pharisees during his ministry, and immitate him.

"What Would Jesus Do?"

Garry Friesen gives 7 Principles:

  1. Jesus did not avoid doing things that He knew would offend the Pharisees.

  2. The Pharisees always took the initiative in the confrontations.

  3. During the early stages, when questioned or accused by the Pharisees, Jesus simply answered their questions and explained the reasons for His actions.

  4. When the Pharisees began to dissuade people from following Him, Jesus rebuked them with greater force.

  5. He also, at that point, warned His followers about them, instructing the multitudes in parables about their teaching.

  6. Jesus’ specific instructions for His disciples were: Beware, and leave them alone.

  7. When Jesus challenged the Pharisees personally, the target of His attack was the content of their doctrine (i.e., when they supplanted the commands of God with their own tradition), the phoniness of their practice (hypocrisy), and the destructive effect of their influence in the lives of others.

—Garry Friesen, Decision Making and the Will of God, pg. 412

Pharisees will always take offense.
Stop taking responsibility for legalists getting offended at you.
Don't avoid doing things that you know will offend Pharisees.

It's easy to spot Pharisees:
"That's the way I was taught. That's the way I was discipled."
They'll tell you.
Live your life, don't try to please them. You are either pleasing God or man.

"Stop right there. The Bible says..."

The ultimate hope is that the Pharisee would be corrected.

To bind the conscience beyond the Word of God is sin, and sin deserves rebuke.
Target the content: tradition replacing the commands of God.


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1PointPreacher Ep. 21 - Pulpit Plagiarism: Moral Law



1 Point Preacher
Episode 21

Show Notes:

We talked about our experience with plagiarism in Ep. 2. Preaching Another Preacher’s Sermon

Now, "pulpit plagiarism" is trending because of a high profile case.

And we have more to say.

DEFINITION: (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)


: to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's production) without crediting the source

Legal Definition of plagiarize

: to copy and pass off (the expression of ideas or words of another) as one's own : use (another's work) without crediting the source

In the world, plagiarizing will get you in trouble.

Key: not giving credit to your sources.

Some are slippery, "nothing is new under the sun."
Others are sincere. "What's the big deal?" They love the Lord, they want the Gospel to get out?

We are talking about plagiarism on the part of pastors, preachers of the Word.
Their office, calling, compounds the problem.

A deflection or honest objection:
What if permission was given to use the material?
It's still plagiarizing if there was no credit given.

Why is this wrong?
Our authority for faith and practice is the Bible.

When addressing this sin, when confronting a preacher, and considering church discipline (at whatever level), the case needs to be biblical. The argument, the line of reasoning, must be built from the text of Scripture.

Elders, or even concerned members, must open up the Bible.
Bring them face-to-face with the Word of God. It's Bible study time.

The Moral Law:

8th Commandment: You shall not steal.

A preacher taking material that does not belong to him.
Even with permission, it's not his. But he acts like it is, and as if he did not have permission, when he does not give credit.

Plagiarizing is sin.
Instead of doing the hard work of sermon preparation, he has stolen the fruit of another man's hard work.

Even the errors—misinterpretations and misapplications of the Bible.

The plagiarizing pastor could end up with more work: copied, then checked the work.
Instead of just doing his own work.

This is clear in an academic setting. In seminary, they always refer to these 2 commandments.

9th Commandment: You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
This includes lying and being dishonest about what you preach.
"Passing off as your own" and "without crediting the source."

Checking your own work against commentaries and other preachers is allowed, and wise.
But cite the authors and preachers that you learn from and quote.

A challenge: questioning research.
That's a mix of categories; tainting hard work with plagiarizing.
Studying and researching well is not the point.
Stealing is sin. Not crediting the source is the point.

“If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.”

Remember the key: without crediting your source.
Don't steal material, cite your sources, and you'll be clean.

Every thoughtful congregation with a diligent pastor knows that he studies.
They won't challenge him when he cites a source in his preaching.

We aren't the first to study the Word of God.
Our confessional heritage will come in to our study and preaching.

We can also talk about learning from others, which is not sin.

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C&CW Ep. 28 - Terms: Stronger Brother & Pharisee



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 28

Show Notes:

The "stronger brother" is strong in the ways the weaker brother is weak.

  1. Faith/Conviction (Rom. 14:22)
  2. Knowledge: an idol is nothing, nothing is unclean of itself, all things are lawful, it's not what enter the body that defiles a man.
  3. Conscience: not sensitive to things not sinful; calibrated to the Word of God. Enjoys freedom without guilt, to the glory of God.
  4. Will: strong-willed, will not surrender to someone else. "For why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience?" (1 Cor. 10). Not unduly influenced by unbelievers, Pharisees, or weaker brothers, even differing stronger brothers.

"The stronger brother (or sister) is a Christian who, because of his understanding of Christian freedom and the strength of his conviction, exercises his liberty in good conscience without being improperly influenced by the differing opinions of others."
—Friesen, Garry; Maxson, J. Robin. Decision Making and the Will of God (p. 399). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Responsibility is placed on the stronger brother, because weaker brothers will be influenced to sin against their conscience.
Stronger brothers are to care for weaker brothers.
The one who was "stumbled" but was not influenced is a whole nothing type of person.

Rom. 15:2, Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his building up.

The error: leveraging the correct duty to the advantage of those who are not weaker brothers, but merely disagree and believe that what is in freedom is sin; they are not weak in will.
They say, "you're not being loving, building up." They stumble over your use of freedom.
To practically wipe out Christian freedom completely. Misapply the responsibility to cancel out what Paul explained. In the end, there's not adiaphora, no gray area, there is no freedom! Conscience bound by anyone and everyone.
The original "cancel-culture."

The stronger brother is RIGHT.
Paul was a stronger brother.
The weaker brothers are wrong, because they are weak in knowledge.

Whatever is not named as sin in Scripture is not sin.

He doesn't refrain from using freedom because he's wrong. It's for the sake of those who don't have that knowledge, are overly sensitive, and can be influenced.

The 3rd category—often misidentified as the weaker brother, and may masquerade as weak in order to manipulate you.

"Who is NOT the weaker brother?"

This type is not explicitly talked about in 1 Cor. 8, 10; Rom. 14.
We get this profile from the Gospels: the Pharisees.
They are the most memorable example for binding the conscience and defining "sin" according to their man-made traditions.
Adding to God's Law, and often replacing it with their preferences.

They may prove to be unbelievers: there's a condemnation for adding to God's Word.
Like Mormons and forbidding drinking coffee. That's a sinful binding of the conscience.

The pharisee is a professing believer with strong convictions who, because of his pride, takes offense at those who resist his pressure to conform to his point of view. By his nature, the pharisee is most in need of the correctives set forth in Romans 14:1–12. Of the three types of differing brothers, he is also the most difficult to get along with. Sometimes he will even claim he is a weaker brother as a way to force you to change. For this reason, Joe Aldrich calls the pharisee a “professional weaker brother.”
—Friesen, Garry; Maxson, J. Robin. Decision Making and the Will of God (pp. 409-410). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

An ironic. use of the term "weaker brother," because the Pharisee is not weak in all the ways a weaker brother is.
R.C. Sproul similarly talks about "The Tyranny of the Weaker Brother"
Like Con Men: professional deceivers.

When Pharisees disagree over adiaphora, accuse you of "stumbling," say you are being a "bad witness"—ask: "Were they influenced to follow your example?"
If not, they are not a weaker brother, they are a Pharisee. It's that easy to tell.
They are weak in knowledge, but strong in will—they would never do what you do. They are not influenced by your freedom, rather they are trying to influence you and bind your conscience; elevating their preferences to the level of Divine Law.

*Friesen's description of the Pharisee is in the article linked above.

"The Disobeying Brother"

Key part of defining a Pharisee:
The Pharisee takes offense at your freedom when none is given—is not influenced to act.

You did nothing wrong when someone is not pressured to do what you did, yet is accusing you of "stumbling."

Take seriously the claim of stumbling. It may be true.
But this is how the Pharisee will operate: despite strong personal conviction which they apply to everyone else—they will not be influenced to sin against their conscience—they will accuse you of stumbling.
And you're stuck.
Pause and consider according to the biblical teaching: is this a weaker brother or a Pharisee?

This is why it's so important that we systematize this, compile the profiles, so you know who you are dealing with.
So you will not betray or destroy freedom of conscience, and stand up to, correct and teach those without this understanding.

You do not treat the Pharisee the same way you treat weaker brothers.
Just look at what Jesus did.

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