And they are harming the body of Christ with their arrogance. Even a Leftist publication like Newsweek can see the hypocrisy.
As you’ve probably read, Litton was the presidential choice of the “woke” Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) crowd during their recent election. Shortly afterward, one video after another came out showing how blatantly Litton has plagiarized sermons of J.D. Greear – and not just sermons, but bad sermons. This plagiarism started as early as 2015. You’ll probably cringe as you watch them. He’s not just an actor, he’s a bad actor.
Litton has made one foolish statement after another. He claimed to be transparent – and his supporters lauded him as such – while his church took down 140 of his sermons from YouTube. That’s a peculiar type of transparency. And he and his church gave mealy-mouthed and conflicting explanations for the reasons. He tried to claim it was because his church was transferring files to a new server, but that is another insulting lie. They hid them on YouTube, not their own server! And his “apology” was that he was sorry if people were offended, which is a non-pology.
He claimed to have a team of eight people who help put together his sermons, yet the outlines of many of them followed Greear’s, down to the examples and “personal” stories. Litton lied about only copying the outlines, as some of the lines he uses were not in the outlines or manuscripts but were in the videos. And does it take that many people to plagiarize? Or was he throwing them under the bus to hide his sins? He is now claiming that he is mentoring this team on how to preach. But what he’s teaching them is that you don’t do your own sermons; you lift them from others and have other people do the work for you.
Litton also didn’t realize that his church’s website had a statement that misstated the Trinity. So this guy is too busy to know what his own website says and to prepare his own sermons, but he has plenty of time to be a pastor of a large church and the President of the SBC?
Seminary students lose points on papers even for improperly documenting footnotes, and they can get kicked out for plagiarism. Yet Litton’s supporters actually rationalize that any sermon speaking true things belongs to God and therefore is immune to plagiarism. He used an illustration of Jesus being a diamond and how you don’t credit the shovel and pick when you’ve found one. But Litton wasn’t taking the credit of the tools but of the other miners who labored to find the diamond. The entire line of thinking is absurd, and it is insulting that they’d expect anyone to believe it. Using their logic, you could copy any sermon word-for-word and it wouldn’t be a sin. And don’t get me started on pastors who buy sermons off the Internet. Greear took down a comment about something he previously bragged about, which is using a company called Docent to do “research” for his sermons. Litton was probably using Docent’s material without realizing it. Ironically, I’ll bet that Docent doesn’t want one pastor to pay them for research and then share it with other pastors.
A friend of mine had a pastor resign because of plagiarism, and it was far less extensive than Litton’s. Yet Litton’s church and denomination are covering for him. And watch the very end of this video to see Litton tell his congregation to ask him for wisdom “even if you have to steal it from somebody.” That’s pretty bold and cynical from a guy plagiarizing a sermon (watch the entire video to see how bad it was).
While downplaying homosexuality, they (Litton and Greear) claimed that the Bible “whispers” about sexual sin. Among countless other examples, tell that to Sodom and Gomorrah. And they pretended that the Bible is unclear about describing homosexual behavior just because of the type of transliteration used repeatedly when translating the Bible. And they foolishly claimed that homosexuality doesn’t send you to Hell because heterosexuality doesn’t send you to Heaven. In their desire to be clever and gloss over homosexuality, they used a lame and fallacious analogy.
Litton is not even good at preaching other people’s sermons. He was obviously chosen for his woke politics and not his skills. He even admitted how he had lied about his sermon preparation time. He is a disgrace and should be fired from both jobs, but I think the actions of his supporters are worse. Al Mohler, J.D. Greear, James Merritt (who actually encouraged plagiarism before speaking on holiness – talk about tone deaf!), Danny Akin, and others have permanently ruined their reputations by refusing to state the obvious. They insist that Litton is honest, humble, transparent, and full of integrity. Shame on all of those liars. They’ve actually claimed that Litton was just doing “theology in community,” which would be laughable if the subject weren’t as serious.
As false teachers count on you not reading the Bible, these woke leaders are assuming that people won’t watch the videos for themselves. Sadly, they are probably right. Mohler had been spectacularly clear in denouncing plagiarism in the past, but he’s been silent on Litton thus far. The only good thing about this is that the “woke” SBC crowd is highlighting how deceitful they are. It isn’t like Litton is the only one doing this, and they know it. Like their secular brethren, the end always justifies the means.
If the SBC can’t get rid of a serial plagiarizer and liar such as Litton, then real churches should withdraw.
2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
Litton had the gall to tell a reporter that all the accusations are coming from unnamed sources. He is a serial, unrepentant liar. Epic comment from Justin Peters:
Unnamed sources? My name is Justin Peters. Let’s add to my name the names of Gabriel Hughes, Jeff Maples, Jordan Hall, Tom Buck, Tom Ascol, Josh Buice, Phil Johnson, and literally dozens upon dozens of others who have been talking about this (along with their names) for at least 2 weeks now. There, fixed it.
Here’s just one of many videos showing the copying. If you don’t cringe through this, you aren’t paying attention.