Recently Eerdmans Publishing Company discovered that a commentary on Ephesians and another commentary on Philippians by the same author contained a considerable amount of material that was not written by the author. [1] The trouble was not that author made use of the work of other authors to make his book better. Rather, the problem is that he didn’t properly acknowledge his sources and give credit where credit was due. This is known as plagiarism. Plagiarism happens in high schools and colleges across this country. It turns up in research papers, books, magazine articles and online materials. Sometimes this happens accidentally because someone is tired or pressed for time and doesn’t take the time to make sure that quotations from another authors’ work are accurately and properly acknowledged. Other times people plagiarize deliberately. They steal material written by others, perhaps so that they can appear more intelligent and sophisticated, or perhaps to save themselves from doing the hard work it takes to do it oneself.

Regardless of the motive plagiarism is wrong. The trouble with plagiarism is that it’s theft and it’s condemned by the 8th commandment. “Thou shalt not steal” (Ex. 20:15). Plagiarism is also condemned by the 9th commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Ex. 20:16). Purposely presenting someone else’s materials as your own is deception. “Lie not to one another, seeing ye have put off the old man and his deeds” (Col. 3:9). Authors who deliberately  (or inadvertently) plagiarize someone else’s work can lose their jobs, lucrative book contracts, or professorships at colleges and universities. As for students, you can get kicked out of college for doing this. God has given us minds to write books, articles, and blog posts, and to deliver speeches. Making use of the work of others is not wrong and can be very profitable. However, Christian honesty demands that the sources we use in our work always be acknowledged. When we borrow from the work of others, we must properly give credit where credit is due. Where such acknowledgement is inadvertently omitted, it should be corrected immediately. This is a good reminder. Those of us who are students must be honest and must not engage in this kind dishonest intellectual theft. Even when we are in a pinch and deadlines are pressing down on us, sinfully stealing others work is never the solution. Those who intentionally present another’s work as their own need to repent of this sin and seek forgiveness. May God help us be honest Christian witnesses in all our research and school work!

Kevin Rau


Samples from Seminary – 7 Characteristics of Worship

Tomorrow is Sunday! That means we will have the opportunity to gather together with fellow believers in order publicly to worship God.

Worshiping God is an essential part of the Christian life. In worship, we come into God’s presence to ascribe to God His proper worth and to extol that worth.

Sadly, there is always the temptation to fall into a rut when it comes to worshiping God. It is much easier simply to go through the motions each Sunday. There is a tendency to allow worship to become cold and formal.

This post is designed to address this issue by enumerating seven characteristics of proper worship. These come from a class that we are taking this semester on the subject of worship. While we students will need to have these in our minds for a test, it would be good for all of us to have them in our minds for worship each Sunday.

  1. Worship is Theological. In other words, worship should be God centered. When we walk into church tomorrow, our attention should be on God rather than ourselves. Let’s not allow worship to be all about us.
  2. Worship is Spiritual. John 4:24 teaches us that since God is Spirit, we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. This means that we worship by the power of the Spirit of Christ. Practically, worship therefore is not outward. Rather, worship arises from the heart. Keeping this in mind will help us to avoid formalism.
  3. Worship is Truthful. This is the other half of John 4:24 – we worship God according to truth. In other words, we worship God in the way He tells us to in His Word. In addition, worshiping God according to truth implies that it is a great evil to allow false teachings or false conceptions of God to enter into our worship.
  4. Worship is Reverent. Think of the angels depicted in Isaiah 6 who covered themselves with their wings when in God’s presence. We too should be sober as we stand before our holy God.
  5. Worship is Joyful. This is the counter-balance to reverence. We do not worship God as stoics. Rather, worship is festive and celebratory. Think of all the Psalms that speak of making a joyful noise to God. Remembering this will prevent worship from being cold.
  6. Worship is Congregational. We worship as a body of believers. This means that in worship we all draw near to God to ascribe to Him worth and to extol that worth. One implication of this: church attendance is important. The whole body should be present at worship.
  7. Worship is Sacrificial. This adjective for worship is intended to capture the idea that worship involves giving. In worship we bring our offerings of praise and honor as gifts to God. For worship is primarily a matter of giving rather than receiving.

Hopefully these seven characteristics of worship will help keep us from all forms of improper worship. Let’s keep them in mind as we go into God’s house to worship Him tomorrow!

Matt Kortus