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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Authenticity matters

No subbing for original sermons

Sermons read from a book, no matter how profound, shortchange both the preacher and the congregation. They lack integrity and border on fraud and deceitfulness.

Preparing and delivering our own sermon content are two of the great privileges of serving as a minister in a congregation. God may have invented preaching as much for the one preparing and delivering the sermon as for those who listen.

But I perceive that it is becoming more and more common for contemporary preachers to purchase a book of sermons (like ones I have written) and simply read one of those or one they find on the Internet — reading them as if they were their own.

To do this is to shortchange the listener and cheat the preacher of what they both need. A week after week struggle to understand the message and how it relates to oneself, and also how it relates to the "called out from the world" assembly to hear it, is the Spirit's way of guiding and uplifting us.


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