VISTA, Calif. At least 5,000 pastors across the U.S. and around the globe have signed The Preacher's Pledge, a declaration of the centrality of the Bible in preaching and sermon preparation. The pledge, created by the online Sermon Central, is also designed to promote integrity in sermon researching by encouraging pastors not to use preaching resources to supplant the Word of God.
"We introduced the pledge because we think preachers must engage the Bible in their sermon preparation and not simply shortcut the process using someone else's study," Ron Forseth, general editor for SermonCentral.com, said in a news release. "Our site is a valuable supplementbut not the primary source for a sermon. God's Word is."
Sermon Central is owned by Vista-based Outreach Inc. and is the world's most highly trafficked sermon Web site. More than 250,000 visitors come to the site each month to access 140,000-plus sermons and illustrations, amounting to nearly a half-million pages of online Scripture commentary.
Although sermon manuscript and illustration databases have been around long before the advent of the Internet, the ease of accessthanks to such free sites as Sermon Centralhas changed the way many pastors prepare their messages. Some attribute the cyber age with making it easy for pastors to overlook the centrality of the Bible or even plagiarize others' work. The pledge, Forseth said, allows preachers to make a public commitment to integrity in their preaching.
"We want to strengthen the quality of preaching in pulpits around the world," said Scott Evans, president of Outreach Inc.
Drafted by members of the site's advisory council, the pledge states:
• "I will make the Bible my primary resource in sermon preparation and preaching.
• I may use other resources such as commentaries and Web sites to enhance, not replace, my personal interaction with Scripture.
• As I study I will strive to accurately understand and honestly apply God's Word, allowing Him to uniquely proclaim His truth in a relevant way through me."
For more information, visit www.sermoncentral.com/pledge.