Intrepid Lutherans on Plagiarism

Recently, Intrepid Lutherans hosted a poll dealing with the topic of pastoral plagiarism.  This poll asked the question: “Is it acceptable for a pastor to commit plagiarism?”  Here are the results of their poll:

  • No.  Plagiarism is fraudulent misrepresentation — 166 votes – 87%
  • Maybe, if everyone else is doing it — 1 vote – 1%
  • Maybe, if it’s not copyrighted — 9 votes – 5%
  • Maybe, if it helps spread the Gospel — 14 votes – 7%

This poll was then followed by a series of blog posts on Intrepid Lutherans.  Each post is a worthwhile read:

It is good that Intrepid Lutherans attempted to tackle this issue.  They made many good points, and appear to have brought some WELS pastors to repentance.  There is rejoicing in heaven when a sinner repents.  (Luke 15:7).

However, what about the WELS pastors who were confronted privately by other laity & pastors, and they refused to repent?  What about a District President who appears to justify plagiarism by saying that “many WELS pastors” do it?

Plagiarism is a Sin.  It is foolish to attempt to justify plagiarism because (allegedly) many WELS pastors routinely take credit for other people’s work.  Church leaders who say this not only defend sin, they defame other WELS pastors who are children of God.

It is likewise foolish to attempt to justify plagiarism because one is allegedly spreading the gospel.  Plagiarism is a sin, and the wages of sin is death.  (Romans 6:23).  The Gospel brings life, therefore, the Gospel is the antithesis of sin.  Trying to excuse sin for the sake of the Gospel is damnable heresy.  (Romans 6:15).

Why do so many religious leaders think that the rules do not apply to them?  What causes such arrogant pride, that those whose full time vocation is to teach Law & Gospel and to conquer sin, would so brazenly engage in sin, and teach others to sin?  Oh pastors, the rules do apply to you!  Do you think that because you are pastors, God will be more lenient?  No, those “who teach will be judged more strictly.”  (James 3:1).

How long shall we wait for repentance?  How many times should we call to repent?  Should we wait a year for pastoral repentance?  Should we wait a year and a half?  Should we wait two years for repentance?  Is it too much to expect that pastors would be forthright and honest?  Is it too much to expect that WELS pastors would not teach others to sin by their bad example?  Is it too much to expect that when confronted a WELS pastor would confess his sin and repent?  Or should we expect unending deceit until Christ returns?

“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court.  Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison.  I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”

— Matthew 5:25-26.

Be clear that the judge spoken of by Christ in Matthew 5 is not the District President.  When Christ demands an accounting of His shepherds and how they have cared for His flock, the District President will not be able to defend.  District Presidents cannot save (Psalm 146:3), and God does not tolerate those who teach His children to sin.

“… if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin!  Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!

… if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away.  It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”

— Matthew 18:6-7, 9.

The “wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 6:23).  Therefore, repent.  Then “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.  And do not think you can say to yourselves,”  We are WELS pastors who grow the church.  For out of the very stones God can make true Christians.  (Matthew 3:8-9).

It is good that Intrepid Lutherans were able to proclaim truth, and call some to repentance.  However, what about the rest of the WELS?  There needs to be repentance.  And there also needs to be resignations from those church leaders who have engaged in sin and refused to repent, and also those who have defended and protected sin.