An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal on sermons sold, traded and appropriated. (Thanks, Wayne)
I've written in support of using others' sermons in the past--partly because I've done so with my brother's sermons 10-15 times over the years. Vineyard minister Steve Sjogren ably defends such sharing in the article. Interestingly, preachers most likely to be quoted by others (megachurch pastors such as Sjogren and Rick Warren) are also most sanguine about others doing so and least likely to seek attribution.
But there's also a deeply slimy aspect to the sale and slavish recreation of others' sermons--even down to the appropriation of the original preacher's personal illustrations.
If we'd stop referring to such preaching as simple plagiarism and speak about the issue in light of Scripture's definition of the shepherd's call--without reference to the standards of academia and commercial publishing--we might come to consensus on what is and is not appropriate in this area.
I suspect, for instance, that in plenty of good churches Martyn-Lloyd Jones is followed pretty explicitly when preachers are preaching through Romans. Perhaps this isn't ideal. But Lloyd-Jones has inspired a number of my sermons--how could he not when a young pastor is preaching in Romans and reading Lloyd-Jones? Plagiarism? I don't think so. Utter originality may be a transcendent value in academia, but faithful believers are unwise to make this a test of preachers of the Word.