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The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels

 

The Sin of

Spiritual Plagiarism

Unauthorized Vessels

[Theresa Harvard Johnson
**]

The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism[
__]Unauthorized Vessels
Copyright 2013 by Theresa Harvard Johnson

2nd Edition, Revised 2016

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the CJB, copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. www.messianicjewish.net/jntp. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources. www.messianicjewish.net. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the express permission in writing from the publisher.

 

 

First Printed in the United States of America
2013

DEDICATION

This book, The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels, is dedicated to the one true and living, Holy God who created us and commanded that His sons love Him and love one another; and to those who choose to embrace forgiveness instead of offense.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

h1<>{color:#000;}.

INTRODUCTION

h1<>{color:#000;}.

CHAPTER ONE

NATURAL PLAGIARISM

CHAPTER TWO

SPIRITUAL PLAGIARISM

CHAPTER THREE

AUTHORIZED & UNAUTHORIZED VESSELS

CHAPTER FOUR

WHO IS YOUR FATHER?

CHAPTER FIVE

TYPES OF SPIRITUAL PLAGIARISM

CHAPTER SIX

WHY PLAGIARIZE?

CHAPTER SEVEN

THE EFFECTS OF SPIRITUAL PLAGIARISM

CHAPTER EIGHT

CONQUER EVIL WITH GOOD

CHAPTER NINE

HOW TO AVOID PLAGIARISM

CHAPTER TEN

REPENT & TURN FROM SIN

BIBLIOGRAPHY

CITATION/ATTRIBUTION RESOURCES

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Introduction

Whether you’re surfing the web about goings-on in the church today or casually engaging in conversations with experienced leaders in the body of Christ, the mere search on the Internet or mention of the term “plagiarism” in connection with the congregation initiates a string of editorials online and long, in-depth discussions concerning the state of the congregation today.

On one side of the discussion, leaders talk about how the Internet has made today’s ministers lazy and trapped them in cycles of what some call “borrowing sermon ideas from others” instead of searching the Spirit through their relationship with God for their own unique messages. On the other hand, there is this belief that in the present day church, a number of leaders just don’t care – and want the easy way out in their bible studies and Sunday morning services. Then there’s this group of broken believers, those whose lives have been disrupted, and in some instances devastated by the effects of plagiarism among the congregation, who write or record their experiences or share testimonies about how they’ve been affected by the sin of plagiarism.

Regardless of the conversations, we cannot deny that the moral and ethical climate of the church today is at an all-time low. The news media and the web have made it increasingly difficult for anyone to hide their bad or even questionable behavior as it occurs. It has also provided a blindingly bright platform for the congregation to take center-stage amid increasing accusations – some valid and divisive, and others fictitious. It forces us to confront ourselves in the mirror and take a close look at who we view as leaders, truly considering whether or not our motives for ministry are centered upon God’s heart – reconciliation; or an increased man-made focus in hot pursuit of prestige, entitlement and ease in a celebrity driven man-made-ministry environment.

While many scholars and theologians will debate the ethics and morals of plagiarism from an intellectual and reasoning perspective, the question for the Holy Spirit-filled believer remains here: “Where is the minister’s earnest pursuit of God? Does that leader have a supernatural understanding of Holy Spirit; and where is the ear-to-hear what the Spirit of the Lord is speaking to their heart?”

We know that God often gives many people the same revelation. This truth is not at issue. What we are exposing and examining is the issue of plagiarism – the calculated, deliberate theft of the work of others.”

This distinction is paramount. We do not want anyone who reads this book to fall into confusion concerning what we are addressing. This issue isn’t about what’s right or wrong; but about what God considers to be good and what he identifies as evil. It is pulling US out of the equation and leaning totally on God’s Word in understanding how this topic unfolds. When Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is our guide there are things we cannot or will not do because Christ has truly risen as LORD in our lives. We know that to love God is to feed his sheep. We know that to love God is to obey all that He commands.

In times when we do commit acts of sin, we also know that Holy Spirit will rise up inside us, IMMEDIATELY convict us of sin and convince us what the perfect will of God is in whatever situation we face. We know this: God chooses what He ALONE has defined as GOOD. We are left resisting the enemy of our souls, or as the old folks would say – putting the devil under our feet -- until the temptation to sin flees under the power and authority of the Lord.

The issue of plagiarism is about lying and deception. It is rooted in manipulation and idolatry. It is about unauthorized vessels, those who did not receive the sermon or idea directly from God, but made a conscious and deliberate decision to steal it from those called and sent by Him to walk out that sermon or idea released from Him. While we can focus on the morals and ethics of the issue with our intellect; the search for truth begins in the realm of the Spirit – fully tied to our personal relationship with God.

This is what this book, The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels, discusses. It is about laying aside man-made reasoning that has turned this discussion into a subjective debate, and redirecting our attention to the Spirit realm – where our concerns are rooted in being good witnesses and stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is identifying and boldly raising awareness to a prevalence of sin that is pouring its way through the assembly. Prayerfully, those reading this book will be challenged with two questions that I urge you to present before Holy Spirit: (1) Is your soul desperately seeking to be fully reconciled with God for his purposes alone? (2) Where is your love walk, as Christ defined it, with God and man?

You see, we have people among the congregation today who believe they can be “half-saved.” They think that all it takes is a Christ-confession to assure their entrance into the Kingdom. I firmly believe that to be present with God is to be fully reconciled with him! I have seen people use the excuse that “even the patriarchs were sinners and didn’t get it right.” I agree, but I also believe that their pursuit of God was such that they GREW from their place of failures in God’s presence into fully walking in purity, holiness and sanctification. I believe that WE had the privilege of watching that metamorphosis, that journey – as a place of encouragement in our pursuit of the spirit NOT as a license to willfully sin. When we declare that Jesus is savior we are also saying that HE ALONE is Lord. The climate making its way through the congregation today isn’t pushing this truth. Instead, people are left in a false illusion thinking that “I am okay just the way I am” in the midst of their sin.

Scribes and leaders in the congregation, I challenge you to read this book with the Matthew 28:18-20 commission and our call to be 2 Corinthians 5:16-25 ambassadors in your heart. Read these scriptures from the Complete Jewish Bible translation as it will bless you. I challenge you to view this issue from a God perspective versus that of man. Allow Holy Spirit to guide you. Not only do we need to know Jesus personally and be intimately acquainted with the written Word, but we also need to give Holy Spirit permission to be all God ordained him to be in our lives! For those reading this who are scribes in the Kingdom of Heaven, and who have studied or gleaned from the ministry of Voices of Christ over the years, consider it in context with the foundations of who we are as Scribes of the King.

Plagiarism isn’t a sin we can simply dismiss. While I could not locate any statistics on plagiarism among the congregation, I did locate stats on plagiarism concerning college and university students. In a report published by Turnitin, a leading technology-based plagiarism checker used by schools across the country, “students in the United States submitted over 33.5 million papers to Turnitin between June 2010 and June 2011. Nearly 128 million content matches were found between these pages and the Turnitin index on the web” (Turnitin: iParadigms LLC 2011). In other words, they found that many content matches that were plagiarized! In addition, the report states that, “We live in a digital culture where norms around copying, reuse and sharing are colliding with core principles of academic integrity” (Turnitin: iParadigms LLC 2011). Note that this is in the academic environment. Presently, there is no way to adequately track data with as much accuracy outside of this environment – like in our congregations or among every day members of the congregation including pastors and leaders. However, we might conclude that if the problem is at this magnitude in the academic community it is also likely that it is such in other environments as well – including the congregation.

It is my prayer that this book will bring conviction, healing, repentance, clarity and understanding to you in the realm of the spirit. We are way past playing games with the matters of the Spirit, the matters of the heart. We are beyond the place of embracing an itching-ear Gospel. We are in the time and season of the remnant in which God is making clear distinctions between the wheat and the tare, the sheep and the goat. While this book is specifically written for scribal ministers, it can be applied broadly to the issue of spiritual plagiarism.

If you are a scribe whom Father is leading to dig into this study, I want to encourage you to check out The Scribal Anointing® book series which provides a biblical foundation for our identity as prophetic scribes, outlines our Father’s plans and purposes for us, and most importantly – presses the weight of our ministries upon us fully and completely.

I promise that as you read through this series, combined with this book, your life as a prophetic scribe (a believer in general) will never be the same. God pours his Spirit out upon these teachings as they are released so that we might walk as Master’s in the midst of our call.

As I close, I pray that the peace and blessings of the Lord and the Matthew 13:52 Scribal Anointing overtake you in this season.

 

Embracing immersion,

Theresa Harvard Johnson

CHAPTER ONE

Natural Plagiarism

A few years ago, I was discussing the issue of spiritual plagiarism with a group of prophetic scribes when one of them said to me: “Is there really such a thing? How can plagiarism be an issue among brothers if what each one of us receives is from and belongs to God? We are to take ownership of nothing and leave everything in God’s hands.”

While I can see the logic and perhaps some spiritual debate in this exchange, there was a need to take the discussion further. Father wanted this scribe to see that there are people, some with malicious intent, who carelessly and deliberately steal the words and works of others – even among the body. He wanted to bring clarity and understanding in that: “It is not okay to take someone’s inspiration under any circumstances and claim it as your own. It is stealing. Yes, that inspiration may be from the very heart of God but it was given to that specific person under God’s authority; and recognition, acknowledgement and permission will still be required if you or anyone else decides to share, distribute or otherwise publish that person’s information. If for no other reason, as believers, we should look at using someone else’s inspiration as a privilege, honor and courtesy.” That expression is one of respect, honor. We are Sons of God, regardless of our “business in the world” – first.

If a person fails to give their brother this respect or place of honor, then they are willfully stealing from them whether we see it that way or not; and we are showing immense disrespect.

In the world system, stealing the words of others is known as plagiarism. The term, though most commonly acquainted with literary works, also applies to the theft of video, images, presentations, choreography, performances, computer code, etc. However, our focus in the midst of this book is solely on the literary aspects of plagiarism – written or audible words and ideas. One of my favorite definitions of this term can be found on the University of Southern Mississippi’s website. It reads:

“Plagiarism is the act of taking another person’s writing, conversation, song, or even idea and passing it off as your own. This includes information from web pages, books, songs, television shows, email messages, interviews, articles, artworks or any other medium. Whenever you paraphrase, summarize, or take words, phrases, or sentences from another person’s work, it is necessary to indicate the source of the information within your paper using an internal citation. It is not enough to just list the source in a bibliography at the end of your paper. Failing to properly quote, cite or acknowledge someone else’s words or ideas with an internal citation is plagiarism” (University of Southern Mississippi 2004).

 

Purdue University adds the following to our understanding:

“Research-based writing in American institutions, both educational and corporate, is filled with rules that writers, particularly beginners, aren’t aware of or don’t know how to follow. Many of these rules have to do with research and proper citation. Gaining familiarity with these rules, however, is critically important, as inadvertent mistakes can lead to charges of plagiarism, which is the uncredited use (both intentional and unintentional) of somebody else’s words or ideas” (Stolley, Brizee and Paiz 2013).

 

When I worked as a print news journalist, we were required to use “attribution” in every news story we wrote. Even more so, we had to be able to validate and verify these sources upon request. Attribution is a journalistic term that means to provide credit to the source of your information in a way that ensures that the information can be traced back to its origin. This attribution did not require citing work as it does in academia or corporate America, but it did include identifying the names of the people, where we obtained the information from or other sources based on standards set by the Associated Press (AP), a worldwide newsgathering organization that sets the stage, in some regards, for journalistic integrity. In academia and some magazine publishing environments, the guidelines for attribution or citation are highlighted according to Chicago Style, Turabian Style or MLA Style.

In print news in particular, I had to personally learn the journalistic standards set by the AP Style Manual which is significantly different from the citation standards I had to adopt in college, and then again graduate school. At the end of the day, however, the same rule remains across the board concerning plagiarism: Sources must be cited. Simply put, we can literally look at plagiarism as “literary theft.”

During my print news career, I was heavily involved in industry goings-on. I remember hearing about news reporters (print, radio and television journalists) who been disciplined, fired, sued and black-listed in the profession because of this type of theft. In academia, it can ruin your student record and reputation; result in suspension or expulsion from any educational environment; cause graduates to be stripped of academic degrees; and even result in litigation. If a person plagiarizes while employed, they could possibly cause that business, agency or organization legal problems and public disgrace that can be difficult to bounce back from.

I’m going to share one more definition of plagiarism before moving on. I want to be sure that we grasp – as closely as possible – what it looks like before uncovering the spiritual weight of the crime. Yes, I said crime.

Take a look at this statement from the Council of Writing Program Administrators at Purdue University, which has an in-depth online writing lab that thoroughly covers this issue. It says, “In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source” (Purdue University 2007).

In writing this book, I am by no means representing a legal entity or providing any type of legal advice. The information in this book is for informational purposes only, and is helping set the stage for the heart of our discussion. But I do, however, want us to take a close look at the areas underlined in the definition provided by Purdue University. Here goes:

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. What does it mean to steal “someone else’s language?” Different societal groups, organizations, individuals, etc. can sometimes have special language – unique way of expressing an idea or topic – that conveys their concepts and ideas. In Voices of Christ Literary Ministries International for example, we have very specific ways that we refer to literary ministry. This type of terminology and expression, for our ministry, is branded to our unique identity. A plagiarist, however, would simply use this language and our expressions in speeches, writings, etc. and fail to acknowledge or give credit to its origin.

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. What does “idea stealing” look like? From the perspective of our discussion, idea stealing would be the deliberate act of hearing or listening to someone’s idea, and then presenting that idea as your own – as if it was your original or authentic idea. Some good examples might include stealing someone’s idea for a book concept, a course outline or movie script, and then developing it fully and claiming it is your original work AND IDEA.

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. What does it mean to steal “original – not common knowledge – material?” This one is self-explanatory. It is simply referring to robbing someone of their original, little known work and presenting it entirely as your own – with minor changes and modifications. In other words, what has been stolen is something very few people may know about. Common knowledge simply means that a subject matter is so widely known and discussed that NO ONE can claim ownership of it.

 

Again, I am by no means an attorney, and nor am I qualified to give anyone legal advice. While the definitions we have addressed generally cover the consensus of what plagiarism entails in the literary community, they are also subjective to individual journalistic, academic or even legal interpretation or standards. Again, the idea here is to fully establish a foundation of what plagiarism looks like in the natural, so that we can build a strong spiritual understanding around it. Our thesis is simple: “Thou shalt not steal.”

Let’s take a look at some additional examples of what plagiarism might look like exploring some real life, public cases:

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p<>{color:#000;}. JAYSON BLAIR: One of the most infamous cases of plagiarism over the past decade is the story of a former New York Times reporter by the name of Jayson Blair. He was proven to have plagiarized more than 30 national news stories by inventing fictional quotes and stealing quotes from other news articles or news magazines. Not only did Blair resign, but two editors within the company resigned as well. While this case was indeed an embarrassment for all parties involved, the reputation or “good name” of this man was critically tarnished regardless of the skill and writing ability that landed him the position in the first place. Just putting his name search engines brings up topic after topic on what is being coined the “plagiarism dilemma” (Dan Barry, et al. 2013).

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. STEPHEN GLASS: Another infamous journalist by the name of Stephen Glass is now best known for plagiarizing sources and entire events during his time as a journalist for The New Republic, a renowned liberal magazine (Leung 2009). In the article written by Leung, Glass admitted that he lied for esteem (Leung 2009) and that his entire life as a journalist was consumed in those lies.

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p<>{color:#000;}. KAAVYA VISWANATHAN: Former Harvard University student, Kaavya Viswanathan, was caught plagiarizing book content when her first published novel, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” made it to a top spot on the New York Times bestseller list (Smith and Rich 2006). It was discovered that portions of the book were copied from a fellow student. Ultimately, the novel was cancelled, the publishing company withdrew their $500,000 publishing contract and faced embarrassed, and Ms. Viswanathan found herself in the midst of a torrential scandal that she is currently being remembered for whenever and wherever plagiarism in academic circles are mentioned.

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p<>{color:#000;}. REV. ALVIN O’NEAL: In 2003, Rev. Alvin O’Neal Jackson, a Manhattan, New York pastor, was caught by a member of his congregation plagiarizing the sermons of a fellow minister verbatim Sunday after Sunday (Luo 2006). In an article written by Michael Luo and published in the New York Times, O’Neal went as far as to emphasize the parts of the sermons and add the “uhs and ahas” in the exact same places as the original pastor. His actions left the church he pastored in great turmoil and he ultimately resigned. Some years later, this pastor re-emerges to discuss how this bad decision affected his life. He shared his regret and talked about how God has given him a second chance. This blessed me because this is what SHOULD happen when godly repentance is present.

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p<>{color:#000;}. DR. DANNY LOVETT: Dr. Danny Lovett, president of Tennessee Temple University, resigned in 2011 after admitting to plagiarizing pages in a book he wrote (Trevizo 2011). Lovett, who is also a pastor, ended up in a legal situation as a result of his actions. When this book was printed, that situation was still tied up legally.

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p<>{color:#000;}. REV. E. GLENN WAGNER: Rev. E. Glenn Wagner, senior pastor of Charlotte’s Calvary Church in North Carolina and former minister-at-large with Promise Keepers, confessed to stealing parts of his sermons from other preachers and resigned in 2004 (Chicago Tribune, 2004). Wagner, who oversaw a $39 million complex and a congregation of 3,000 blamed his actions on a battle with depression (Chicago Tribune, 2004).

Each of these instances, and more, can be freely researched online for more insight and information. Some of them dig into the impact these incidents had on the lives and/or business endeavors of all parties involved; and the effects that they are having on the discussion of plagiarism. In undergraduate school, we would study cases like this as part of our course requirements in mass communications and debate the ethics and morals of it before other students. These types of exercises proved very helpful to me as a rising news journalist because I never forgot the exchange. Even more so, I had a desire NOT to see my years of education tanked as a result of vain ambition, desperation and greed.

I know we’ve covered the definition of plagiarism, but I want to share one more. Sharon Stoerger, a professor at Northern Illinois University, wrote that “Plagiarism derives from the Latin "plagiare" -- "to kidnap." Put simply, plagiarism is presenting someone else's unique idea or written work without acknowledging them -- thereby suggesting their work is your own (Plagiarism Page 2002) .” Stoeger makes a very strong statement about the response of academia to plagiarism as well. She wrote: “Plagiarism is theft of intellectual property, and is a serious offense in academia. The original author is cheated, fellow students who do their own work are cheated, the student plagiarizing cheats him/herself, and the instructor of the course is likely to be insulted as his/her efforts are undermined. When plagiarism is detected, the individual instructor is likely to assign a failing grade to the paper or for the class, and may even initiate an effort to expel the student from the university. The seriousness of the deceit and the level of the course are likely to affect the outcome, but students should be aware that -- even if it not spelled out on the syllabus -- faculty may respond harshly to plagiarism.”

Again, we are using data relating to academia here because this is the area where the most research has been conducted concerning plagiarism. In the introduction, I shared some stats with you that provide us a point of reference for this issue as well.

If were talking about armed robbery, mugging or even petty theft some people who are reading this would have no problem identifying those crimes as stealing. But if we were to really meditate on what has been discussed about plagiarism up to this point, we would see that we have exposed another area of stealing that could easily be categorized with:

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p<>{color:#000;}. Theft or Grand Theft

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p<>{color:#000;}. Theft by receiving

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p<>{color:#000;}. Robbery or Armed Robbery

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p<>{color:#000;}. Shoplifting

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p<>{color:#000;}. Mugging

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p<>{color:#000;}. Pirating or Bootlegging

In fact, I would go as far as to say plagiarism can be viewed in this light. Can you recall being a victim of theft at some point in your life? Have you ever stolen something from someone or knew someone who was a thief? Do you know someone whose life has been deeply impacted by chain reactions resulting from one or more of the various types of theft mentioned above?

Technology today has caused a resurgence in plagiarism and given plagiarists endless avenues and opportunities to steal. It has also caused corporate and academic environments to step up their game in protecting their institutions from such acts. The congregation, however, has not really addressed this issue to the depth that it should in this hour.

But let’s face it: As technology increases, the exchange of information will continue to increase. We are seeing more and more cases of plagiarism and conversations about plagiarism emerge not only in secular communities, but also among the assembly. The truth of the matter is this: Plagiarism is theft! It’s the same dance, just a different dance partner.

It is also a reality that the congregation, as a whole, is at a crossroads where-in there is a need for a conscious effort to educate rising leaders on the seriousness of this issue.

h1<>{color:#000;}.

CHAPTER TWO

Spiritual Plagiarism

All you have to do is type in the phrase “plagiarism in the church” in a search engine, and article after article will pop-up with testimonies, commentaries, heart-breaking stories and conversations about how people in the assembly of God are plagiarizing sermons and presentations for their Sunday morning services and bible studies. It’s so bad, according to online reports, that people are listening to videos online, copying from books and other venues for the material “to steal.” While a number of plagiaristic acts are indeed accidental and due to ignorance, many others are not. They are deliberate and diabolical, and it is in this place that we find the problem.

In an article written by Robert J. Young entitled, Ethics in Ministry, he wrote the following:

“Perhaps no task is as easy to fake as spiritual ministry. Preachers preach and teach with little or no study. Time pressures encourage plagiarized sermons and classes. Bulletin articles are copied without credit, or worse, copied and set forth as one’s own effort. Ministers spend too little time in prayer, too little time speaking to God, too little time listening to God, all in the name of speaking for God. Some involved in ministry covertly pursue unethical, immoral lifestyle. Compounding the crisis, our contemporary society little appreciates genuine ministry not dependent upon outward appearances or external circumstances. The rapid transitions of contemporary society have blurred definitions of ministry. In fact, that today’s world often measures ministry by worldly standards encourages hypocrisy and the lack of ministerial integrity. Ministry is in ethical crisis” (Young 2001).

Wow! What powerful revelation and insight. In my own ministry experience, I’ve seen the very things that Young has written about. In fact, I would add that there is also a prevalence of entitlement and a huge issue of blatant disrespect that is hovering over this generation in regard to one another. It is so prevalent that the fear of the Lord has been watered down to an Old Testament concept that is not applicable today and many have forgotten that to love God is to obey and fear him – meaning reverence.

I have had people join the ministry of Voices of Christ, fellowship with us, partake in intense mentoring and pretty soon they have disappeared only to resurface in some form or fashion teaching or distributing our unique scribal teaching series; using our language and in some cases completely building ministries off of administrative documentation and foundations for ministry that I originally developed from the very vision of God. They cover their efforts by creating secret portals and attempting to keep themselves hidden from view. It’s unbelievable! What’s even more frightening is that these people are claiming to be God’s apostles and prophets! From my perspective, this is frightening when you consider that we are all facing a Holy God!

Just as I have experienced this, so have many other people among the congregation.

 

There are thieves in the temple – many of whom are leading, teaching and training others with stolen goods and out of evil intent.”

 

Their hearts are not truly focused on ministry, but the prostitution of it and the prostitution of God’s people as they attempt to build a vision of their own as if God has authorized it. Most people would not have a problem with someone using their material if only they would ASK, give them credit or acknowledge openly and clearly where they received it from. I truly believe this!

Let’s take a look at how plagiarism is defined in the realm of the Spirit.

 

Jeremiah 23:28-30 CJB says, “If a prophet has a dream, let him tell it as a dream. But *someone who has my word should speak my word faithfully._ What do chaff and wheat have in common? asks ADONAI. Isn’t [[my word like fire,*]_] asks ADONAI, like a hammer shattering rocks? So, I am against the prophets, says ADONAI, “who steal my words from each other

Meditate on the first bolded part of this scripture. It indicates that God gives us His Word. What God shares with us intimately is considered HOLY revelation. Let’s look at this in the New Covenant.

 

John 16:12-16 explains rhema this way: “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative but will say only what he hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future. He will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and announce it to you. Everything the Father has is mine; this is why I said that he receives from what is mine and will announce it to you.”

You see, Jesus promised us that He was leaving Holy Spirit in the earth to continue to reveal the will of God to us – individually. If you have an intimate relationship with the Lord, then you already know this is true. What I pray you see here is that what GOD GIVES YOU is HIS INSIGHT, HIS WORDS, HIS UNDERSTANDING, HIS VISION, HIS DREAMS, HIS HOPE, etc.

Now let’s get back to Jeremiah 23:28-30. God said in this passage that someone who has MY WORD should speak MY WORD faithfully.” Is not Jeremiah the “someone” God chose to speak His Word? Did not Jeremiah speak God’s Word faithfully? Well guess what? When God GIVES YOU a Word then YOU become that SOMEONE and are now charged with RELEASING what YOU have been given faithfully!

Take a real close look at this scripture passage and grasp hold of it. In fact, I encourage you to read Jeremiah 23 in its entirety. This specific chapter is all about following the character of Christ, living a salty life and walking as a living epistle.

Now look at the second bolded part of this scripture passage. Note that God’s word is paramount to Him. He tells us that HIS WORD is like fire – meaning it is all consuming and will accomplish what He sends it forth to do. Even this book, which is inspired by God, is HIS WORD to me concerning this most relevant subject. Its purpose is two-fold: (1) It is sent to educate and protect us from the schemes and schisms of the adversary; and (2) It is sent as a warning and call for repentance to those who are walking in this sin. This book was given as RHEMA to me. I am by NO MEANS equating my inspiration with Torah, the Prophets, the Wisdom Books, The Letters or the Revelation of Jesus Christ. I am saying, however, that God instructed me to write this and gave me the revelation concerning what to say. As a result, He has released to me a measure of His rhema Word that I am commanded to speak faithfully.

The Lord also refers to His Word as a hammer shattering rocks. He is clearly telling us how weighty and powerful HIS WORD is in bringing His purposes through every area in which it has been sent or targeted. He wants to DESTROY all that is not like Him! Crushing! Demolishing! He wants us to look like Him! Father wants us to grasp hold of ALL OF HIS TRUTH and know Him as powerful and all consuming. Not a single thing that He speaks to us is irrelevant or minor. He is calling us to never forget that His every utterance is a TREASURE, to be appreciated and respected. We’re going to take a side street for a second. I promise you, all of this that we are discussing is leading to a central point. Bear with me as we walk steadily through it.

 

Jeremiah 1:12 CJB says, “Then ADONAI said to me, “You have seen well, because I am watching [Hebrew: shoked] to fulfill my word.”

 

As prophetic scribes of the King, what we receive in our time with God is to be seen as immeasurable, priceless treasure. Our scribal ministry foundation scripture as we discuss it in the book The Scribal Anointing: Scribes Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven is Matthew 13:52 which tell us that we are unearthing treasure from our Father that is new, old and from ancient of days. What HE SPEAKS to us is assigned to us and often to specific souls in the earth realm who need to receive it directly from the vessel God has released it to – whether it is audible, in a book or through some other means that the vessel has disseminated it. But when a person comes with a self-serving, evil intent to steal that Word – they quickly step outside of God’s will.

Consider this for a moment: There are many believers who consider themselves to be prophetic, meaning they earnestly ascribe to hearing and conveying the heart and mind of God to others. Now, imagine these same believers STEALING content (written or verbal) and then releasing them AS IF they received them prophetically. Can you see how spiritually dangerous this could be?

God is watching over His Word – through those through whom He speaks– to perform it. We see this walked out many times in the scripture through the priests, prophets, apostles, etc. God released words to them. They obediently took those words to the people groups identified to them, and we saw God’s Word fulfilled. I am reminded of the Word Jonah delivered to Nineveh. When the people received the Word they repented. As a result, God withdrew His wrath and blessed them. Let’s repeat the scripture from Jeremiah 23 here and bring this aspect of our understanding to conclusion.

 

Jeremiah 23:28-30 CJB says, “If a prophet has a dream, let him tell it as a dream. But *someone who has my word should speak my word faithfully._ What do chaff and wheat have in common? asks ADONAI. Isn’t [[my word like fire,*]_] asks ADONAI, like a hammer shattering rocks? So, I am against the prophets, says ADONAI, “who steal my words from each other

 

Father states plainly in the last part of this scripture that he stands against those who steal HIS WORDS from EACH OTHER. In other words, He in NO WAY supports lying, deception, manipulation or the stealing of HIS TREASURE. Again, a person who practices theft has more churning around in their heart than a simple act of theft in a weak moment. There are two types of thievery being played out here in this passage. On one hand these thieves are stealing words from God, and on the other hand they are stealing words from the vessels He has chosen to speak through.

Where Father is taking me with this may seem a bit extreme, but with everything in me, I know it is God who is warning his people in this hour about “acts of plagiarism – theft and lying.” I know that He wants us to take all sin seriously. Why? Because ALL sin – whether man equates a sin to be big or small – leads to evil fruit, destruction and death.

 

When we plagiarize or steal the words, vision or ideas that God has given others, we are stealing from God. We are also WOUNDING the brother or sister we have been commanded to love.”

 

I pray that this is and will become clearer. The author of all that is sinful – no matter how you look at it is the adversary, the father of lies. Remember, to be a plagiarist is to stand before God and man as a LIAR. If I were caught by law enforcement officials for taking merchandise out of a store that I didn’t pay for, I would be immediately arrested, charged with stealing and placed in the county jail – justifiably. You see, thieves believe they are entitled to take what they did not earn. Thieves DO NOT CARE that what you have is a treasure to you. Thieves have no regard or regret for the effects of their actions. Thieves exist in a world of entitlement, often believing that they deserve what they haven’t earned.

A person who plagiarizes exists in this place. The exact same mind set and ungodly thought processes that go through the mind of a common thief are also going through theirs. Let’s not be deceived here! It is the same thing. The thief – whether they are committing armed robbery or practicing plagiarism is practicing deceit or deception, and engaging in an act that qualifies – before God – as a lie.

 

Leviticus 19:11 CJB says, “Do not steal from, defraud or lie .”

 

Matthew 15:19 CJB says, “For out of the heart come forth , murder, adultery and other kinds of sexual immorality, theft, lies, slanders…”

 

Proverbs 6:16-19 CJB says, “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

 

Now, we’re going to stop here for a minute. These three scripture references fully capture the heart and mind of a habitual plagiarist in the realm of the spirit. Those who practice this are fully engaging the demonic realm, and are exemplifying key aspects of THE CHARACTER of the father of lies. Walk with me.

 

This is what Holy Spirit has revealed to me in this:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The heart of the plagiarist is corrupt and in need of reconciliation. This type of heart has not been guarded or protected against evil and has become a spring of death. (Proverbs 4:23)

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Pride has planted a root system in the heart that blinds the thief from their own sin and causes the person to hunger and thirst for the worship and approval of men and the world. (Proverbs 11:2)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have mastered lying and deceit. (John 10:10)

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have fallen prey to the ancient stronghold of murder released by Cain. Therefore it is nothing for them to shed innocent blood, devise wicked plans or rush to evil. (Genesis 4:8)

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They pour out lies. (James 3)

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They have no regard for causing dissention in the house of the Lord, among the brethren. (Proverbs 28:25)

 

Can you see it? It is my prayer that your eyes will be opened to what is taking place in the hearts of those who willfully operate out of a spirit of thievery, plagiarism. While we may naturally see this physical act, there will be other elements in the lives of a deceiver that will come forth.

 

Proverbs 12:22 CJB says, “Lying lips are an abomination to ADONAI, but those who deal faithfully are his delight.”

 

This is a powerful scripture verse and it accurately conveys God’s heart concerning the sin of lying. There’s no gentle way to identify a liar. The motive will be some form of deep rooted, secret idolatry in which there is jealousy, envy and this secret lust or desire to be recognized and worshipped. SATAN IS SHREWD! His tactics, however, are simple and ancient – as he meets every sinner at his place of vanity and greed.

Based on this walk we have taken through the word of God up to this point, we can clearly define spiritual plagiarism as stealing the words, vision and/or ideas of GOD released or spoken through his chosen vessels and claiming as one’s own for the purpose of manipulating, defrauding or deceiving others into believing that we are the originator of them.

Remember that even though we are dealing specifically with the literary elements of plagiarism here that this message also applies to the plagiarism of music, choreography, artwork, etc. and a plethora of other areas. Experts agree that many people have probably plagiarized unknowingly over the course of their lives. But now, having the truth, we are all responsible for doing whatever is necessary to guard our hearts against this scripturally immoral and biblically unethical activity. It is no secret that a number of plagiaristic acts are indeed accidental. Even so, even unintentional acts of plagiarism are STILL plagiarism. However, this book is specifically targeting DELIBERATE plagiaristic acts, meaning confronting those who set their hearts on stealing.

This understanding runs deep and it uncovers far more going on inside the heart of a person who has taken on the spirit of a thief than what is revealed at face value. Before bringing this home, I need to hit one more important aspect of this subject in the next chapter.

 

CHAPTER THREE

Authorized & Unauthorized Vessels

Acts 17:24-26 CJB says, “The God who made the universe and everything in it, and who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in man-made temples; nor is he served by human hands, as if he lacked something; since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything to everyone. From one man he made every nation living on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the limits of their territories and the periods when they would flourish.”

When Father tells us that we are a “chosen” people, He means it. He is saying that He made a deliberate and conscious choice to bring YOUR SOUL into the earth realm for His purposes. He is saying that He has created a plumb-line, fixed-limits or a threshold that set boundaries on your life – and specific times in which He would have you (who are obedient to him) walk out the things designated for your life. Can we make the wrong choices in life and miss God’s purpose for us? Yes, we can. I have missed a lot of opportunities God has had for me. I’m not ashamed to share this with you. When I look back, I can see him literally pleading with me to push through – but fear held me back even though I had His promise that He was with me.

We can also make the right choices and meet the times and seasons that heaven has prepared in advance. I have walked in this place also and especially now in this season of my life. I find my joy in pursuing life free of fear and apprehension. It has come from knowing that TRULY I have to move in Christ’s strength, not my own. There have even been instances in which God has chosen to redeem the time for me.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 CJB says, “For I know what plans I have in mind for you, says ADONAI, plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future.”

 

When God gives you a vision to write book, produce a play, write a song or bring a scripted vision to life on the big screen – rest assured that YOU are the VESSEL AUTHORIZED AND CHOSEN TO PERFORM THAT SPECIFIC FUNCTION in that specific season. YOU are the one receiving rhema and receiving that outpouring of understanding to not only share what you’ve been given, but to be the change agent of what you’ve been received in the earth realm. In other words, YOU have been given a supernatural authority to carry out a “God given assignment in the earth” – one that NO ONE ELSE HAS been given the authority to walk out. It might look like others can perform your job so to speak – but as Father builds and makes you into a master you will come to know that there is a special, precious anointing that will rise out of the work assigned to you that will impact the earth as only YOU can. We live in a social church structure in this hour that says, “ANYBODY CAN DO THAT!” Please don’t be deceived by this – not everybody can. ONLY YOU can walk in YOUR appointed and YOUR designated sphere of influence in which God has fixed the limits of your territory and the periods in which YOU will flourish. Go back and look at Acts 17:26. You see, jealousy and envy will cause people to believe they can have and do what God has given and called you to do. They might try – but the anointing will not be there.

 

Consider these truths in light of our discussion:

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have used someone besides Noah to build the Ark?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have chosen another man to be the father of nations besides Abraham?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have chosen another man besides Jacob to become Israel and establish it?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have chosen a different lineage besides that of Jesse to bring forth our Christ?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could another woman besides Elizabeth been chosen as the mother of John the Immerser?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have chosen another woman besides Mary to be the mother of Jesus?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have prophesied to the people of Nineveh using someone other than Jonah?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Could God have used someone else besides Ana and Simeon to bless Christ upon his birth?

Oh, I am sure he could have! But HE CHOSE THOSE VESSELS TO MOVE THROUGH! There was something about them that was so special to the Lord that He made another conscious, deliberate decision to use them – instead of someone else. Do we know why? I’m sure some people believe they do, but I tell you – only GOD KNOWS why He chooses to use the people He calls. Only GOD CAN REVEAL why He believes a specific person is capable of fulfilling a task.

He ALONE gave THESE VESSELS the authority to walk out those specific functions and purposes in the earth. In the midst of their lives, they had the BLESSING OF THE LORD to fulfill their destiny and purpose. They were not trying to take that which did not belong them along their journey. They were not trying to “get somewhere” that God was not leading or taking them. They only wanted to be attentive to and follow the plan of the Lord for their lives.

Because God made the CHOICE to use these specific people, He gave them a special blessing, authority and ANOINTING to carry out that which they were sent to do. He AUTHORIZED them.

What do you think would have happened if someone TOOK those design plans from NOAH and tried to build the ark that GOD COMMISSIONED HIM TO BUILD? What do you think would have happened if someone tried to OUST ABRAHAM and walk out His call to be the Father of nations? No one but these men were given this type of authorization to walk out their specific destiny and purpose.

You see, this is the same principle Father is revealing to me when people PLAGIARIZE – stealing His Words. This type of thief is seizing assignments that absolutely DO NOT belong to them. They are taking off the garments given to them BY GOD and forcefully taking the garments of someone else. They are walking in territories, spheres and dimensions in the realm of the spirit in which they have no authority and power. You see, when I worked in the corporate world as executive, I was hired to perform a specific function on that job IN THE CAPACITY in which my employers sent me. At no time did I have the right to walk in my supervisor’s office, take over his or her projects and begin working those projects AS IF THEY WERE MINE. Did I work with other people? Yes, I did. Each one of those people were authorized to DO what THEY WERE HIRED TO DO. In other words, everyone in that office was authorized – meaning given the authority – to perform their job function. If I were to walk outside of that clear boundary and job description of my own volition, then I would have been an unauthorized vessel. The same principle or concept applies spiritually. Let’s say this again: When a person steps into a place of authority that they have not been given, they are operating as UNAUTHORIZED VESSEL! They have moved forward without God’s blessing.

As a result, these unauthorized vessels have the potential to not only cause great harm to the brother or sister whom they have violated, but they have opened the door for the adversary to wreak havoc in their lives and potentially in the lives of all those whom they affect – even generationally. There are many instances where people have paid a dear price for trying to represent God outside of their realm of authority and influence.

 

Leviticus 10:1 CJB says, “But Nadav and Avihu, sons of Aharon, each took his censer, put fire in it, laid incense on it, and offered UNAUTHORIZED FIRE before ADONAI, something HE HAD NOT ORDERED THEM TO DO. At this, fire came forth from the presence of ADONAI and consumed them, so that they died in the presence of ADONAI.”

 

Wow! Examine this for a minute: (1) Nadav and Avihu, the sons of their priestly father ASSUMED it was okay for them COPY what the other priests were doing; and (2) Because they had no authority in this area they paid the ultimate price with their lives! Everything we do as people of God is intrinsically tied to God’s plan for our lives. This includes the timing, authority and AUTHORIZATION of our Father to go forth in that in which we have been ASSIGNED or CALLED.

 

Numbers 18:7 CJB says, “You and your sons with you will exercise your prerogatives and duties as cohanim (priests) in regard to everything having to do with the altar and within the curtain. I entrust the service required of cohanim to you; the UNAUTHORIZED person who tries to perform it is to be put to death.”

 

Wow! This should bring clarity to anyone who doubts that God has a set people to do and release certain things. While I chose this scripture, it’s not the only one in the scriptures that you can draw this understanding from. As you read this passage and consider what is written here, please do not get lost in the fact that this is an Old Covenant scripture that has been shared. It is very much relevant today. The primary points that we must grasp are these: (1) God assigns tasks to specific people. Here we see Him declaring that he has entrusted the service required of a priest to Aaron; and (2) He gave those specific people the authority to carry out those initiatives that others DID NOT have. He SAYS POINT BLANK: “The unauthorized person who tries to perform it will be put to death!”

Now, people today who operate under a one-sided grace gospel would HATE to think that God still enacts judgment among His people – in any form. Somehow, they believe grace is an excuse to sin and sin and sin and sin some more – and that all is forgiven because they are under grace. It isn’t. If there is no conviction to stop sinning or to turn away from that sin, then there can be no forgiveness. Please know that when we disobey God some type of death will occur in our lives. That’s a biblical principle which says the wages of sin is death. Something in your life will die. One of the most common signs of death is this: “A lack of sensitivity to sin.” If you are sinning and there is no conviction of that sin in your life, then we are looking at a heart that has turned away from the presence and power of the living God. Let me give you one final example. Take a look at Matthew 9:6 CJB. It reads, “But look! I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” In this scripture, we know that the Son of Man spoken of here is Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah. We also know that He is the only man that has ever been given the authority to forgive us of our sins. This was his destiny and purpose. No one, no matter what their doctrine might tell you, can offer THIS KIND of forgiveness.

When people walk as plagiarists in the Kingdom, they walk as liars and extend a pretend or fake scepter that boasts in illegal authority and in illegal sending (they sent themselves).

 

Those practicing spiritual plagiarism have stolen revelation and vision that they have not originated or developed.”

 

As believers, we must come to understand that there really isn’t a need to plagiarize anything. God has given each one of us what we need to fulfill our purpose and destiny. The nature of our faith often involves building on what others have taught. Nothing is wrong with this AS LONG AS WE ACKNOWLEDGE and properly document the sources of the “verbatim or inferred thoughts, concepts and ideas” that we use – especially when we are aware of their origin. It becomes evil and sinful when we make no effort to present the truth. As spiritual people, Holy Spirit is able to direct us… and again, we are equipped with everything we need.

 

Hebrews 13:21 CJB says, May that God equip you with every good thing you need to do his will; and may he do in us whatever pleases him, through Yeshua the Messiah. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”

CHAPTER FOUR

Who is your father?

Matthew 22:36-40 CJB says, “Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important? He told him, ‘You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it; You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”

 

It is almost unconscionable to think that someone whom you respect, love or whom you have taught or viewed as a leader over you, would in turn, blatantly steal from you with little or no regard for the Lord himself or the Lord in you. Stranger theft isn’t as surprising, and it’s safe to say that many of would not be as surprised by it. Yet, both types of theft happen every day and wound the heart.

The very act of plagiarism challenges the person practicing it to really consider where they stand in their “love walk” with God. You see, the greatest commandment demands that we love God with our full being and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. No one wants to be the victim of theft and deception. In the same way, a “Son of God” should have absolutely no desire to steal from others. But there is one among us who loves, longs, lusts after and desires to steal. He is called the adversary, satan.

 

John 10:10 CJB states: The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy; I have come so that they may have life, life in its fullest measure.”

 

That word ONLY really struck me here. You see, satan’s agenda is very, very simple and extremely ambitious. What does this mean in the context of our discussion on plagiarism? It means that a person who practices plagiarism is operating out of the purposes of “the thief” that the Apostle John describes in this passage.

The thief is a giver and multiplier of death and destruction. Period. His legacy is SIN AND DEATH, the exact opposite of God’s legacy which is LOVE AND LIFE. The goal of sin is to keep YOU IN DEATH and PERMANENT SEPARATION from God. Its goal is to keep you at enmity with reconciliation in Christ. So if someone is a habitual plagiarist, they are operating under the veil of the thief and evil has implanted itself in their hearts. We are now building on the previous chapters that have been taught.

Christ is the only route to the full measure or the abundance of life that we have been promised by God. No man can use thievery as a means to obtain the blessings of God! Again they can try, but what they gain – no matter how great it might seem – is not representative of a good gift.

We’re going to walk through John 8:37-47. I know this will be a bit long, but it will be worth it. The scriptures are in italics, and my commentary will follow as directed by Holy Spirit. Here we go:

 

John 8:37-47 CJB reads: “I know you are the seed of Avraham. Yet you are out to kill me, because what I am saying makes no headway in you. I say what my Father has shown me; you do what your father has told you!”

 

In this passage, Jesus is speaking to the scribes and Pharisees at the temple. In present day translation, he would be sitting with us inside a church building or some organized assembly. His life has been threatened and his teachings ridiculed, and he is boldly standing before his accusers defending the gospel and distinguishing between those who belong to God and those who belong to the adversary, the devil.

I love this passage, as it dispels the “nice, sweet, I-will-take-anything-you-throw-at-me-and-smile-Jesus” that is often taught in the itching-ear congregation of this day. We see our Christ fully identifying and calling out EVIL and WICKEDNESS for goodness sake. This is also something you rarely see among the assembly today. Also note that Christ has used the key word, kill, here. This further denotes that he is confronting PEOPLE who are carrying out the work of the adversary.

 

They answered him, Our father is Avraham. Yeshua replied, If you are children of Avraham, then do the things Avraham did! As it is, you are out to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Avraham did nothing like that!”

 

Here we see Jesus calling their character and behavior into accountability. These people are claiming to follow the God of Abraham, but they are not truly seeking to do or live the way Abraham did. Are we supposed to follow Christ’s pattern and confront sin also? Christ draws the line here in saying that their lives are completely contrary to the faith they profess. In other words, true obedience would require true loyalty and practicing of the life Abraham led.

 

You are doing the things your father *does._ [ We're not illegitimate children!" they said to him. "We have only one Father -- God!" Yeshua replied to them, ] [[If God were your Father, you would love me; because I came out from God;*]_] and now I have arrived here. I did not come on my own; he sent me.”

 

Now, we see Christ telling them that THEY BELONG TO THE FATHER OF LIES! Yes, this is what He said. In other words, he wants them to see that the condition of their hearts and their actions are lining up completely with the belief system and character of satan. Remember, God is the life-giver and brings fulfillment; but satan is the death-dealer, and brings forth destruction. Christ is bringing forth another principle here which shows that all things produce after its own kind. If Abraham was indeed their father, then they would produce the God-kind of fruit – even to the point of recognizing that JESUS was indeed the son of the Living God.

 

Why don’t you understand what I’m saying? Because you can’t bear to listen to my message. You belong to your father, Satan, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. From the start he was a murderer, and he has never stood by the truth, because there is no truth in him. [+ When he tells a lie, he is speaking in CHARACTER; because he is a liar -- indeed, THE INVENTOR OF THE LIE! +]

 

But as for me, because I tell the truth you don’t believe me. Which one of you can show me where I’m wrong? If I’m telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God listens to what God says; the reason you don’t listen is that you don’t belong to God.”

 

Am I saying that plagiarists are the sons of satan? Well, I am saying that those who have willingly given their lives over to this type of behavior may very well be on their way to becoming his offspring. Sons of hell can be raised in the midst of the church! People do fall away tempted by the lusts of the flesh, but those who follow Christ DO NOT REMAIN THERE, rolling and attempting to THRIVE IN IT.

People who deliberately practice evil without conviction, remorse or any desire to repent clearly belong to their father, as Christ emphatically states. At the end of the day, however, it is up to that person to decide whose side they are on and to judge the place that they find themselves in. Even as you read this, do so with identifying and considering where YOU ARE in the midst of this teaching.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being aware of the strategies and the tactics of the enemy, but the reason why we need to know is so that we can guard our own hearts (1) from the infiltration of temptation and sin; (2) from the relentless assaults of the enemy; and (3) so that we can be catalysts of awakening and reconciliation. It is not – in any way, shape or form – for us to stand as an accuser, looking at everyone around us but ourselves. This subject matter is relevant and it is real. Father is calling us to take this matter SERIOUSLY as it clearly contrasts His desire and will for his people. God HATES LYING TONGUES!

Over the course of this teaching, we have talked about the importance of loving God and loving our neighbors. This is important because LOVE DOES NOT PRACTICE DECEIT. Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees: IF THE GOD I SERVE WAS YOUR FATHER THEN YOU WOULD LOVE ME!

This love is standing in a place in which you would “do no harm” either directly or indirectly to your brother or sister in Christ. Only a thief operating in the spirit of the thievery would seek to do harm to his brother. We, people of God, are being called into accountability today.

 

John 14:15 CJB, “If you love me keep my commandments.”

 

Philippians 2:3-5 CJB, “Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves – look out for each other’s interests and not just for your own. Let your attitude toward one another be governed by your being in union with the Messiah Yeshua...”

 

I pray that this teaching up to this point brings great conviction to those who may be operating as plagiarists in their lives. While I do understand that not all people who plagiarize do so with deep rooted, diabolical intent, it is necessary to acknowledge that it is SIN just the same. Saying, “I didn’t mean for it go this far,” isn’t a worthy excuse – even if it is partly true. The same ENEMY of our soul is still at work – even in that. Deliverance, healing, repentance, forgiveness is needed as each soul stands before God in truth. HOLY SPIRIT COME! Holy Spirit, COME! Have your way in our hearts – cleanse us, remove the idolatry, pride, wickedness, and all the associated sins from our lives that lead us fully outside of your will in Jesus Name.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

Types of Spiritual Plagiarism

In academia and the corporate world, there are different types of plagiarism that are identified like copying, paraphrasing, word-switch and so forth. I am challenging you to consider that there are different types of spiritual plagiarism as well. We touched on this a little bit in a previous chapter. In this instance, however, our view is going to shift somewhat as Father brings light to what it might look like to view spiritual plagiarism from the perspective of crime or pervasive criminal act – which it is.

The goal is to bring this sin from being seen as something minor into a place of seeing it as a “heavy weight” in the demonic realm – because it is. Remember, a person willfully participating in plagiarism is dealing with matters of the heart that goes BEYOND the “act of plagiarizing.” In shifting how we SEE this sin, we begin to realign our hearts with hating what God hates and loving what He loves.

 

1 Peter 2:13-14 CJB makes this clear: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”

 

Take a look at this passage of scripture. What is it saying? Basically, we are being instructed by Christ’s apostle Peter to obey the law and to follow regulations that guide civility in the midst of government. Another example of this is when Christ told Peter to pay his taxes to Caesar. It’s the same concept.

This knowledge and understanding is imperative because there may be people who have read what Father has revealed up to this point, but are still unable to see plagiarism as a serious sin or as a criminal act. They may even say to themselves: “…that Theresa Harvard Johnson has gone off the deep end with this one. It really ain’t that serious.”

The truth is this: When we minimize sin, we devalue God’s truth. This is why I love the scripture that reads: “Let God be true and every man a liar.” In other words, we should stand on God’s position on things and not count on our thoughts, reactions, human reasonings or emotion. I’m here to tell you that I can’t trust my own understanding in anything anymore. I must go back to the Word of God, His root system. My posture in this conversation that we are having is this: “Father, explain how you feel about lying and stealing to me. Direct me to your word. Holy Spirit, bring me into understanding as God sees it.”

As you read this section, I challenge you to seek Holy Spirit concerning the implications as we faithfully walk through. These definitions below are derived from The Free Dictionary Online (http://www.thefreedictionary.com) except where my commentary is noted.

Plagiarism can be placed in several different categories when we view it from a perspective of theft. For example, stealing a dollar from grandma’s purse is indeed a criminal act, but the consequences in a court of law would be far less than planning a heist from the national treasury. Why? Well, in the criminal justice system crimes are often weighed by motive, intent and the magnitude of the devastation. In the spirit realm, sin is sin; however, there are many types of sin and ways that enemy targets us.

We are going to examine those ways to bring greater understanding concerning what “spiritual plagiarism” might look like in the midst of the congregation when compared to types of theft in the world system. Please note, however, that I am in no way claiming to be an attorney or offering any type of legal advice. I am simply challenging the reader to see the issue of plagiarism in a different light.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Stealing, Petty Theft, Grand Theft or Grand Larceny. Stealing or petty theft is commonly defined as deliberately taking another person’s property without permission, legal right and without intent to return it. In a court of law, this type of theft is in relation to stealing common property – usually valued under $500. Grand Theft or Grand Larceny entails the previous definition, however, the difference lies in the financial value of what is stolen or taken. In other words, it is stealing property that is considered to be of significant financial value.

 

Translation: In light of this, we might view the weight of plagiarizing a line or a sentence or two from a book in comparison will stealing a chapter or the entire book. A line or a sentence might be viewed as petty theft; but stealing paragraphs, pages or the entire book would be Grand Theft or Grand Larceny. At the Grand Theft/Larceny level of plagiarism, you may begin to see people attempt to take over or clone entire projects, ministries, ministry visions, etc. of another person. In other words, these thieves are literally heisting your entire literary and spiritual effort.

 

#
p<{color:#000;}. Theft by Receiving. This is defined as knowingly and willingly receiving stolen property.

 

Translation: This is translated as knowingly and willingly receiving the plagiarized work, vision or idea of others; or knowingly participating in it. While this person may not have stolen it directly, they knowingly reap the benefits of it with absolutely no intent to help the original owner; and instead aid or help the thief.[
**]

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Robbery or Armed Robbery. This is the felonious act of the taking personal property by force or the threat of force.

 

Translation: Seeing plagiarism from this perspective is translated as the act of coercing, deceiving or forcing someone to release or submit their literary work, vision or idea by force or the threat of force. There are instances in which scribes have literally had their projects, ministries, visions and dreams forced from their hands while working with or helping others whom they believed had their best interest at heart.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Shoplifting. This is stealing an item from a shop, place of business or store while pretending to shop for goods or services.

 

Translation: We’ve seen people come into ministries pretending to take part, when in actuality their entire motive is to “check it out” or visit long enough to see what they can steal and duplicate within their own ministries. We are not talking about earnest knowledge seeking here, but deception. This form of plagiarism is diabolical and pre-meditated.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Mugging and Looting. Mugging is defined as rushing in, bumping a person or incapacitating them or distracting them in some way quickly, that allows the thief time to snatch the targeted item from them. Looting, on the other hand, is an act of picking-through or pillaging an area following a battle, a fight or a riot of some sort for items that do not belong to the person. It is stealing by opportunity.

 

Translation: Like shoplifting, people come into ministries pretending to take part while “checking it out.” Then, when the opportunity presents itself they “turn on the owner or the clerk so to speak” loot or mug the owner and then flee. These acts generally take place in ministry when people are the most vulnerable, distracted and/or weak. Muggers and looters have an uncanny ability to identify the wounded, the weak or downtrodden, sometimes gaining their trust (even briefly) and then pillage their treasures. Looters or muggers may also strike with no preparation or warning.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Pirating and Bootlegging. Pirating is the act of duplicating copyrighted material illegally and then repackaging it for sale. Bootlegging refers to illegally making, distributing or selling stolen goods. The object of both is generally financial greed.

 

Translation: This is what Father revealed to me as being one of the most common forms of plagiarism among the assembly, next to shoplifting. The thief literally duplicates every aspect of the stolen work, project or idea – and completely repackages it as their own. They are extremely clever in their actions, and it can take great discernment to identify this thief at work – as they specialize in repackaging and remarketing their stolen products.

I pray that the Lord will speak to you through these areas, and help you identify what plagiarism might look like in the midst of ministry. A number of these acts are committed silently, and often aren’t discovered until the thieves resurface publicly with their products. There are also plagiarists that will go to great lengths to hide their thievery – operating in secret groups, unwilling to share who they may have studied or gleaned from over the course of their ministries, etc. However, when they reveal themselves, exposure – before God – is inevitable. Again, my analogies may seem a bit extreme; but the Lord wants us to get this. This isn’t to stir up confusion or to overate anything, but to HELP YOU guard your heart and protect the treasures Father has placed on the inside of you. Remember, the objective of the thief is to kill, still and destroy.

We know without a shadow of a doubt that our focus is on the Kingdom of Heaven. BUT THIS DOES NOT MEAN we are to ignore evil in our midst and blindly ride it out. There is still a battle in the earth realm to overcome through prayer. There is a time and a place for spiritual warfare within the tenets of God’s word and through the examples walked out by our Christ and His Apostles. Were it not so, we would not have been warned to guard ourselves against the adversary’s devices or to posture ourselves to stand.

CHAPTER SIX

Why plagiarize?

 

Around the web and in varying literary circles, there are all kinds of reasons circulating concerning why people decide to plagiarize the work of others. The reasons range from doing so accidentally all the way down to statements like, “I was in a hurry and needed to complete the project fast.” Other people do it, like in the examples we posted earlier of people who got caught, to win the approval of men, to gain prestige or fame; or because they do not have the skill or confidence to produce the work themselves.

While in the world system these reasons may offer answers, they fail to truly answer this question from a spiritual perspective – especially when we consider this in light of leaders who are expected to be mature (walking in meat) and especially those who are leading and guiding others. In the eyes of God, you are expected to walk in a place of Christ-like character and integrity in every area of your life as a leader! Come on now! We can’t get slack on this just because we are looking at a person’s gifting, charisma or skill. Leadership is CHARACTER, HUMILITY and OBEDIENCE FIRST, not last. But in light of what we know about God and his word, the only logical answer could be that there is a desperate need for spiritual growth and maturity. The kind of growth that gives Holy Spirit free rule and reign in a person’s life to help them walk out what is good and perfect to the Lord.

In other words, those among the congregation plagiarize because they DO NOT KNOW WHO THEY ARE IN CHRIST and they DO NOT have a right understanding of what is the GOOD and PERFECT will of God for them or for their lives. They plagiarize because they have not ENCOUNTERED God’s love and only have an INTELLECTUAL understanding of who He is! Yes, we can claim that low self-esteem is the problem, and that selfishness and greed are prevailing in their lives. This is indeed true, but I firmly believe that WHEN WE KNOW WHO CHRIST IS IN US and WHO WE ARE IN HIM that every evil root will be demolished under HIS holiness and sanctification. People need the purifying power of God coursing through their souls – not a pep talk on ethics and morals. There must be a supernatural encounter with the Spirit of God that exceeds any and all forms of human thought and reasoning. You see, when people ask me how I know God is real, I simply say this: “Because I have experienced Him in and through my life? Can I introduce you to that experience by the power of Holy Spirit?” Let me tell you, God will meet that person when they say yes!

Georgia Barna made this statement in his book Growing True Disciples: “Discipleship is a lifelong calling that demands every resource we can muster. Discipleship is about passion to reach our full potential in Jesus (Barna 2001, 99). The entire time I was writing this book, Holy Spirit continued to remind me that many believers today have taken such a casual approach to their belief in Jesus that they have stopped striving to REACH their full potential in the spirit. They are not pursuing spiritual priesthood, SANCTIFICATION OR HOLINESS as God has expressed it. There is no Holy Spirit pursuit in their lives from moment to moment, day to day.

As my pastor often says, a social gospel is being preached behind the pulpits of our nation more so than a gospel that rebukes sin, speaks of its consequences and God’s plan for forgiveness. As a result, many people believe that they can live the way they desire versus living according to what the Lord declares in His Word.

The Gospel itself has become so subjective that each person feels the need to determine what it means to them instead of allowing Holy Spirit – who is fully able to help us discern good from evil as God sees it – lead the way. We need God’s truth, not our truth. So, what does all of this have to do with plagiarism? Everything. If there is no true pursuit of God in our lives, then sin WILL control our hearts and minds.

No man is capable of fully resisting the power of sin over his flesh without Jesus.”

If you are at a cross road with this message, make sure it is a CROSS road—an encounter with Christ. It is necessary to continuously pursue God in every facet of our lives until death to this world takes place! Unfortunately, only a remnant will choose this path.

The kind of pursuit God is searching for looks a lot like what David describes in Psalm 32:1-2 CJB, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” The reason people plagiarize or operate under the spirit of thievery and death is because they do not have a right-relationship with God. Period. Please don’t forget what Jesus shared in John 8 while talking to Pharisees and scribes. They were very legalistic and self-righteous in their thinking. They had deceived themselves into believing they were following the god of Abraham! They honestly and truly believed this. Yet Jesus showed them clearly how it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to follow the true in living God with John 10:10 intentions in their heart.

We’ve got to see this. When people practice sin – willfully and deliberately – they are following after a different minister. God’s fruit does not include lying, theft and deception.

 

Galatians 5:16-21 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 

Read this verse carefully. Look at the underlined part in whatever translation you might prefer. The key to leaving our sinful nature behind is again, the pursuit of the Spirit – God’s Holy Spirit is hidden here. Many believers like to quote the last sentence of this scripture that says we are no longer under law. But look, this only applies when we are walking WITH GOD IN THE SPIRIT.

Well, what do I mean by this? I mean that if you step outside the protection of God which is provided to those who follow him, you are thereby subjected to wages of sin. True maturity demands that we have desperation in wanting to leave our sinful nature behind. The question is: Are you desperate enough?

 

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

 

Many believers have accepted Jesus Christ as saviour in their lives, but have not allowed him to reign as Lord. Therefore, their identity is not rooted in Christ and there is absolutely no clear understanding of what is good and acceptable to God. As long as a believer chooses to stay in this place, they will be led of their own mind, will and emotions versus the mind of Christ.

Our submission to the will of God will release Holy Spirit to teach us and direct us in moving according to God’s will. Take a look at John 16:7-12 CJB, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I don’t go away, the comforting Counselor will not come to you. However, if I do go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will show that the world is wrong about sin, about righteousness and about judgment –about sin, in that people don’t put their trust in me; about righteousness, in that I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; about judgment, in that the ruler of this world has been judged. I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now.”

 

Wow! Look at this! The comforter, which is Holy Spirit, has come to convict the world of their sin which is ultimately THE FAILURE to put their trust in God! Again, we cannot combat sin out of our own flesh. True freedom from sin is a supernatural act hidden in total immersion in Father. When we focus all of our attention on pursuing Christ we literally release overcoming, resurrection power within us to KILL sin. I thank God that I learned this early in my walk; otherwise, I’d still be trying to figure out how to “stay free” from what had me bound. I learned to saturate myself with his presence. We CAN cause our hearts or our souls to long and thirst after God – seeking to love Him and to love others. This transformation can be so complete that it would GRIEVE US to even consider deceiving God or deceiving our brethren.

Plagiarism is about our subjective view of right and wrong. It should be about what God calls good and what He identifies as evil – taking our thoughts and opinions completely out of the equation.

 

John 16:12-14 CJB says, “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t bear them now. However, when the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own initiative but will say only what he hears. He will also announce to you the events of the future. He will glorify me, because he will receive from what is mine and announce it to you.”

 

Look at this! It is EVIDENT that pastors and leaders who deliberately enter into the sin of plagiarism have failed to submit themselves to Holy Spirit. Remember, God’s word will fulfill all that it is sent to do. This means that if we truly follow after THE FATHER that Holy Spirit will rise up and tell us what the Lord’s will truly is. It is impossible for Holy Spirit to lead us in any direction other than a godly direction. The relationship that people who PRACTICE SIN have with God is a false one – and they are under heavy self-deception. God has NO FELLOWSHIP WITH EVIL. Does he love this world? Yes, he does. But it LOVES IT UNTO LIFE! He loves it with the DEEPEST DESIRE for total and complete reconciliation in Him. His longing for us is a pursuit of spiritual oneness with his will.

CHAPTER SEVEN

The Effects of Spiritual Plagiarism

 

As a prophetic scribe, it has been devastating to me to have those I have trusted, poured into and strengthened steal from me. The truth is, however, that God used these experiences to strengthen me, increase the anointing on my life, and to facilitate maturity. Despite the hardship, the things that I learned in the midst of the trial are invaluable to me now. When I was going through it, however, it seemed so unfair and ridiculous. I’m being transparent here in hopes that this will meet someone where they are, prepare those who may face this or bring confirmation or affirmation to those who have walked this way.

In a previous chapter, I shared an experience from my own life. I thank God that I was able to give that situation completely to him, and literally walk away from it – doing nothing toward the person out of my flesh. The Lord gave me the prophetic word below as a word of comfort during one situation in particular, and I want to share it with you. He said, “Prophet, they may have stolen what I blew through you and claimed it as their own but they do not have the depth of revelation or the anointing to release it in the way that I have placed it in you. As I send you forth to impart and to release into my people on a global level, those who hear the frequency in which I declare my word through you will quickly discern the truth from the lie. They will know the master from the plagiarist.”

Wow! This goes back to our discussion about being CHOSEN VESSELS. Remember, we are talking about STEALING! YOU are the ONLY PERSON who CAN DO what God has specifically set apart for you to do.

Your imprint is on your assignment!”

This settled it for me. Please know that as the confidence of Christ in you arises, this statement will settle it for you as well. When I look at what God has given me concerning the ministry of the scribe, I smile to myself and look up to God – because HE ALONE put this imprint in me. Theresa HAD NOTHING to do with this! GOD put Moses imprint as a deliverer in HIM! Moses and NO MAN did that!

If there’s one thing I know for sure, God equips those who hunger and thirst for him to fully walk out the “measure” that has been placed in their hands. He raises each one of us up to be MASTERS in the midst of our calling. I walk through this in great detail in the book, Literary Evangelism: Beyond the Open Mic. The truth is that most people will never walk as masters in the midst of the call on their lives. Well, how can I say this? Well, look at the patriarchs in the scriptures. Many of them did great works and fulfilled powerful places of destiny in their lives, but very few fully completed ALL the assignments given to them. I don’t want that to be my story, and neither should you.

Shortly after the Lord spoke this to me about my imprint, I ran across an audio recording on the internet in which someone attempted to teach “The Scribal Anointing®.” Some of the content from one of my books had been copied in the introduction, and they titled the teaching as “The Scribal Anointing®,” which is legally trademarked. As I listened, I noticed it was full of error and misleading information. I was immediately affirmed in what Father had shared with me even more.

My flesh wanted to say, “What if people think this person is associated or connected with me?” Holy Spirit immediately came in and said, “This is none of your concern. God has this covered. Trust him and focus on what He is doing in YOU.” That was truly humbling for me, but I chose to hear and obey God. In this instance, there was nothing for me to do but trust God and rest in His Word concerning me.

People may STEAL FROM YOU but can they support the theft with revelatory understanding, wisdom, knowledge, SIGNS AND WONDERS that makes full proof of the ministry? Signs and wonders FOLLOW Voices of Christ. I’m not bragging but BOASTING in the Lord.

There are those, however, who may not have handled this situation the same way or who may not be handling the plagiarism done against them well now. For example, if those who betrayed you were an intimate part of your life – the trauma from the betrayal could possibly be crippling. In this situation I just shared, this person was a stranger. Other than being annoyed initially, the effects were minimal. But wherever you may be, the most important part of overcoming the effects of plagiarism is keeping your heart pure before the Lord.

Yes, I could discuss the natural effects of plagiarism. We could talk about potential money loss, the loss of credibility, the damage to your reputation, the recognition going to someone else when you are really the one who should be in the spotlight, and so forth. But that aspect of the conversation, while it may be legitimate, is for the natural man to hash through. Ouch! But it’s true! You are a Son of God, living in the Spirit! I know the loss of the increase in the natural is devastating. But I also know that God is gracious, and His justice is true. HE PROMISED to war for you.

 

As believers, we must trust him – even when it looks like our enemy is winning.”

Now, I’m not talking about laying down and letting people walk all over you. Rather, I am speaking of standing in your authority – following the VOICE of God. Father is leading me to talk about things in this book that will keep a man’s soul from the pit, and to tell you to simply trust HIM – follow His leading concerning what you should do, not what people TELL YOU that you should do. Look at all the betrayal human kind has caused God, but HE STILL forgave us and sent Christ, HIS ONLY SON as a ransom for our sin!

Depending on your circumstance, you may have to release feelings of betrayal, offense, anger and unforgiveness. You may have to give up your RIGHT to be offended. Some who are reading this will need to guard their hearts from heaviness, depression and discouragement.

Some years ago, a friend walked through an intense battle against plagiarism – one in which a Jonathan or Joshua type in that person’s life aided someone in stealing their ministry – lock, stock and barrel. People of God, these things do happen, and is not as uncommon as one might think among the congregation.

It can and it does happen much like people who steal businesses, patents, trademarks – the vision, plans, and even the ideas for success. The discouragement was so great that the “fight to revive” what God had given dissipated with the loss as this person went into a deep grieving and sorrow. It was like someone had died.

In truth, this is what the adversary wanted and what he was after all the time. This was his ultimate goal. He STOLE the hope and faith of that ministry. He KILLED the fire, the joy to serve. The injury wasn’t just to the soul, but to the spirit! He DESTROYED the seed (or made it look like it was dead) in this person’s life. I literally watched the hope deflate – even in the midst of my prayers, encouragement and intercession. The grief of this loss was unimaginable.

Like me, you’ve probably heard stories of people who wrote books, movie scripts and plays only to have them plagiarized and become best sellers, block-buster movies, and such. This “thieving spirit” is roaming across the land – in and outside of the congregation.

Once something like this happens to a person, they have to fight that open door of disappointment, anger and offense or the enemy WILL gain a foothold. They must also guard against paranoia and suspicion. Now, I don’t mind telling you that WAY BACK IN THE DAY this was a real issue for me after I had been hit hard in ministry by betrayal.

The online site, The Free Dictionary, defines paranoia as exhibiting or being characterized by extreme and irrational fear or distrust of others. That paranoia in my life spilled over into suspicion. Suspicion is described by The Free Dictionary as suspecting that something or someone is going to do something wrong with little or no evidence. It was so bad at one point that absolutely no one outside of my trusted circle of influence could get close to me – and even they were struggling.

The problem was that at that point I had become the greatest threat to the destruction of Voices of Christ and my destiny– not the people around me or those who might come. It was no longer an issue of someone bombing what God had entrusted to me; rather, I was on the verge of imploding – blowing everything up from the inside out. I had allowed the stronghold of fear to literally eat me alive, destroying any ounce of faith or trust in the Lord that HE ALONE was able to protect me and keep me on a path of destiny.

Dealing with the aftermath of this kind of violation can be devastating depending on the severity of it. It can mess with your MIND if you’re not pursuing the mind of Christ. Armed robbery might be more devastating to someone than theft-by-taking. But one thing is sure: A person who has lost significant resources or opportunities because of plagiarism or who have experienced plagiarism in the midst of a trusted relationship will need a measure of healing in a deeper way.

This entire discussion may seem silly to some, but it is very real. I have prayed for many, many scribes over the years who have endured deep pain at the hands of plagiarists. It left them – God’s beloved, precious sons and daughters – wanting to give up the fight.

 

The effects of spiritual plagiarism are real, not just because it is a spiritual theft, but because it can wound the spirit-man.”

 

When Healing Comes

 

There’s no deep word coming forth in this section – just truth. There’s no formula or 12-steps that I can throw your way to make it easier. Even though many of us may have suffered greatly at the hand of plagiarists, we must give that struggle completely to God. The absolute first step in this is making sure that we walk in forgiveness. The Lord will not allow those who are chasing after him to stand justified in their offense. While some may choose to confront or fight legal battles, Holy Spirit will still be standing there with you anxious to heal wounds and bring reconciliation.

Healing will come if the Spirit is allowed to lead the way. Holy Spirit will teach you to lay the offense down and meditate on God and not what has happened to you. Surely, you will learn to trust the Spirit of the Lord in people again.

The secret to surviving these trying times, at least for me, was pressing into Father and letting him continue to “make me” his master scribe. Our process of healing is different, but this posture will get ALL of us there.

Again, in the book Literary Evangelism: Beyond the Open Mic, we talk about God’s desire to make us masters in the area of ministry He alone has called us to walk out. Being a master is not primarily about being an expert in your field, but it about walking out that expertise with humility, servitude and love. In this time with him – if those hurting from the effects plagiarism allow him – he will reveal that all has not been lost and reveal how to recover. He will speak into the valley of dry bones and REVIVE HIS PEOPLE.

I challenge you today that if you are in this place, give yourself over to prayer, meditation and study and watch him move you quickly past this storm.

CHAPTER EIGHT

Conquer Evil with Good

 

Romans 12:21 CJB, “Do not be conquered by evil, but conquer evil with good.”

 

This entire chapter may seem like a repeat of the previous one. While it follows our discussion on the “effects of spiritual plagiarism” it also addresses another important aspect which is how to overcome evil with good. I truly believe it is necessary that we walk through it.

First, let’s take another look at ourselves. There is such a thing as being too trusting, eager and excited in ministry – standing in a place when we share everything with everyone out of sheer joy and love for what God is doing. This place of being overly trusting really should be called “lacking maturity and wisdom.”

I was the queen of this back in the day, and learned that my eagerness to share with others – outside of wisdom – led to some of the problems, even in this area, that I had to walk through. If you see yourself in my testimony, give yourself the freedom to ascertain where you are right now. Ask Holy Spirit to continue to teach you to be quick to listen and SLOW to speak. This is a prayer that never grows old. If you have any guilt or condemnation for any part you believe you played in giving plagiarists or thieves’ access to your treasure – then ask Holy Spirit to help you forgive yourself. I’ve been there, and know how the enemy will replay the tape in your mind that says, “How could I have allowed this to happen.” The truth of the matter is this: God desires to teach us through our ignorance and mistakes. If we allow Him, He will use every trial, situation and circumstance – positive and negative – to grow us in wisdom and move us from milk to meat.

 

Luke 2:52 CJB says, “And Yeshua grew both in wisdom and in stature, gaining favor both with other people and with God.”

 

What the Lord did with Jesus (Yeshua), He wants to do it with us, with you. Wisdom demands that we let go of anything and everything that separates us from the perfect will of God in our lives.

Maybe this wasn’t your situation. Perhaps you had done all the things you were supposed to do to protect your treasure – and still, it was manipulated from your hands. It is easy for offense and anger to rise in this as well, and pretty soon – if not conquered – it will be joined by bitterness, rage and that human longing for revenge and vindication. Holding on to what has been done to us blocks Shalom, the abundant life. The proper, godly response begins with asking Holy Spirit to simply help you DO GOOD.

Regardless of how the theft happened, you were indeed sinned against – don’t minimize this. Choosing to do good is by NO MEANS saying to this person, “I’m letting you get away with this or that what you did was okay.” You are simply saying to the enemy of your soul:

I will not be conquered by evil!”

It is standing against the effects of this sin, as we discussed in the previous chapter, and declaring that you will move forward FREE and empowered by God to be victorious. It means that you MUST continue to pursue the projects and plans Father has placed in your heart. It means that you will continue to scribe for your King and study out the weight and glory tied to your scribal ministry or literary endeavors. It means that you will listen to Holy Spirit, open your soul up to the TRUTH OF GOD concerning the next phase of your life and obey Him.

For me, this has translated into seeking ways to be a blessing to others. It has become an effort on my part to become “godly trustworthy” so that those who have been burned by evil can find a resting place through the Christ in me. I asked God to help me be that light or that salty soul who STANDS UNDER HIS INTREGRITY before the people He sends my way. Why? Because the days are indeed evil, and if a person KNOWS THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE who have the character of Christ, they will be empowered to trust again, to believe again – even if they have been deeply wounded. Each one of us must pursue being that “living epistle.”

Some years ago, I was deeply wounded in the midst of Voices of Christ. A chain of events took place that completely blindsided me. I was completely alone in the midst of this journey – even abandoned by the leadership that promised to walk with me. Instead of covering me in prayer, they became attentive to the ear of my accusers and left me exposed to the elements of the storm. (Looking back, I now see that God was all over this situation.) It took YEARS for me to completely heal from this, but when I came out: I was determined to love God’s people like I had never loved before. I was determined that this experience would not take away my ability to trust other leaders or people whom God would send for me to love on and strengthen.

This, people of God, is an example of how we overcome evil with good. God’s goodness must show forth from our lives in such a way that those who come to us for encouragement or impartation would never know that the adversary ALMOST won. They don’t have to see the battle scars. Looking at me today, you would never know that this kind of wounding ran through me – to a point of isolation, depression and even contemplating whether or not I should stay in the fight of faith. All I can say to you is this: God is able.

You see, the kind of overcoming I am talking about is the kind that is birth in pursuit of ALL THAT GOD HAS FOR YOU in Him. It is defeating the enemy of your SOUL – not DEFEATING PEOPLE! It is the uncovering of the kind of deep, buried treasure in your heart that causes God to pour out his blessings upon you. It’s the kind of GOOD that brings forth and brings out the MASTER’S ANOINTING on your life. It’s walking in God’s LOVE!

 

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 CJB describes this kind of overcoming like this: “For it is the God who once said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has made *his light shine in our hearts,_ the light of the knowledge of God’s glory shining in the face of the Messiah Yeshua. But we have [[this treasure*]_] in clay jars, so that it will be evident that such overwhelming power comes from God and not from us.”

 

WOW! Can you see this? Our treasure is the LIGHT OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD that shines OUT OF THE DARKNESS and into the face of Yeshua the Messiah and it is INSIDE these earthen vessels or clay jars.

Briefly, I want you to recall our conversation about being AUTHORIZED VESSELS who were deliberately chosen by God. Consider the work that you’ve been sent to do as you might understand it to be right now. Can you see how all of this ties in?

You see, while people might plagiarize or steal from you --- they cannot take the root system out of you from which the treasure comes! The same God who gave you that literary work that was plagiarized is well able to MAKE full proof of your ministry.

So despite what has happened to you, continue to DO GOOD which is to DO GOD. Continue in your good work in Him! In doing so, you will overcome evil with good. Light, no matter what it looks like, has already overcome darkness. Yes, I know this may sound like a good pep talk, but it is truly what Holy Spirit is releasing through this. The Lord truly goes before us in battle. We may not always see or even come to know the outcome of that battle; but rest assured He has not forgotten you or left you in the field alone.

 

ChAPTER NINE

How to Avoid Plagiarism

 

The bottom line is that IGNORANCE is our absolute greatest enemy in this fight to call the congregation into accountability before God concerning the issue of plagiarism. When I look at the teachings of the apostles, all I see are men who had an over-whelming, unquenchable desire to see the people KNOW GOD intimately and completely. Their ministries were rooted in ending IGNORANCE and bringing souls into knowing how to love God and love His people.

The most important thing we can do as people of God is to understand that plagiarism is in fact an act of theft. We can acknowledge it and then stand up and say, “I will not have a part of this sin.”

It would be fair to say that many people – in and outside of the congregation – have fallen prey to what is indeed called “unintentional plagiarism.” Unintentional plagiarism is defined as failing to attribute proper credit to sources because you don’t know how or did know that this was something you had to do. While the act is indeed still plagiarism, it was committed in ignorance. As strange as this may seem, I somehow managed to go completely through high school and ultimately earn an undergrad degree without getting detailed instruction on citing the works of others. In defense of the academic systems at the time, we also didn’t have access to the internet or electronic resources the way we do today. When I graduated from college in 1995, most of my friends didn’t own a computer or even have an email account or a cell phone for that matter. So, I am absolutely sure that this contributed to why I didn’t get the level of teaching I needed. My understanding of attribution was solely from the context of a print news reporter. It wasn’t taught from the perspective of “citing works.” I’m the type of person who may have to have these kinds of these spelled out and detailed on a regular basis.

I’m not ashamed to say that I started “getting it” a few years ago when a dear friend said to me: “Theresa, let me tell you how you can make The Scribal Anointing® book series better.” She sat down with me and began to explain that even though God had given me tons of revelation in my books that I needed to go back and cite sources for the material that I provided. For me, this was an ENORMOUS challenge. Some of my closest friends, for example, called me “library” because of my gift to remember historical (and other) information stored in my brain from years and years of reading and receiving from others. I know many of you reading this can identify. I told her plainly, “I can barely remember what I had to eat yesterday, must less where I gained all of the historical facts that I’ve referenced over the years in my writings.” She said this to me: “I understand my friend, and I know God gave you what you have written. But this is something you have to do to protect your reputation and to further build credibility in your ministry.” This friend, by the way, holds two doctoral degrees and teaches on the graduate level in a very prestigious university. To have her comment favorably on my writing or offer any kind of feedback was not to be taken likely. Not only is she sensitive to Holy Spirit, but she is a master in her profession. Holy Spirit beckoned me to listen. I must say that was, perhaps, the most VALUABLE advice I have ever received as it relates to feedback from my books over the years.

It also marked the beginning of a humbling journey for me to understand and view those cumbersome literary style manuals I see college students toting around as tools to perfect what God was doing through my books in the earth. As a grad student myself right now, I have full understanding of the importance of citations – not only from the perspective of plagiarism, but also from the perspective of historical preservation, but that’s another story. Theresa “the scribe” had to come up from the spiritual dark ages and laziness; and recognize how to fully walk out of ignorance. Yes, I was ignorant in this area – even with my previous (outdated) education. My friend gave me some common-sense wisdom. Come on now! I am in the process of completely following her advice. We have to come to know that ignorance IS sin, and that ignorance also has a price attached to it.

Luke 12:47-48 CJB reads: “Now the servant who knew what his master wanted but didn’t prepare or act according to his will, will be whipped with many lashes; however, the one who did what deserves a beating, but didn’t know, will receive few lashes. [_ From him who has been given much, much will be demanded -- from someone to whom people entrust much, they ask still more.” _]

I pray that this scripture opens the eyes of your understanding. When we know to do right and then we do wrong ANYWAY there is indeed a price that will have to be paid. In this instance, we have moved into willful disobedience or sinning deliberately. On the other hand, when we do wrong AND DO NOT KNOW that what we are doing is wrong – we will still pay a price! Why? Well, God is saying to here that the TRUTH IS AVAILABLE but we have to make the effort to seek it out!

Clearly, this scripture is saying that “much has been given to us” by way of revelation, information and access not only to Holy Spirit but through the knowledge faculty of mankind. What we need to know IS INDEED OUT THERE, but we must make a conscious effort to be DELIBERATE in learning and obtaining truth. Holy Spirit is our ultimate helper! I thank God that He helps me out of my ignorance.

One thing that I have done over the years is contact authors directly whenever I want to use a chart or quote specific sections from their book or projects to obtain written permission from them. I have purchased books and resources on “Getting Permission” that have answered on using songs, artwork, etc. I have even made it my business to know where to go from photos, pictures, video or even audio files that in public domain. Public domain means that all copyright to a particular work has expired, been revoked or has been released fully to the public for use without question. I am presently on a journey to learn the ins and outs of legal literary terminology like: “fair use” and “common use.” I’m not going to go into those definitions here, but if you are a speaker, blogger, writer, etc., I strongly urge you to learn more about these areas to help you avoid plagiarism.

In instances where I am using the insight of others when I am verbally teaching, I have learned to say: “These aren’t my words, but this is something spoken by this specific author in this specific book, movie or sermon.”

Whatever the case may be, I make it clear that THESE ARE NOT MY WORDS or that THIS IS NOT MY IDEA. Spiritually speaking, I want to respect the vessel of God who released the revelation or insight I am using; and secondly, I want to guard myself from any place that the adversary would come to accuse me of being dishonest, manipulative or practicing thievery.

More than anything, I desire to exemplify loving God and loving His people in every area of my life. It’s time, people of God, to be INTENTIONAL in preventing and avoiding spiritual plagiarism. This teaching is for anyone who may find it necessary to use the sayings, ideas or visionary strategies of others. WE MUST offer the proper attribution or GET PERMISSION.

[
Check out these tips:]

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Speaking, preaching and teaching is different from writing and recording in print digitally or on paper. As a result, we must seek to be mindful of our spoken words. Many people think this is difficult, but the truth is – many news agencies, marketing firms, corporations, etc. go to tedious lengths to do this every day. YOU can teach yourself to do this – even if it means putting side notes in the margins. One thing you do not want to do, however, is preach or teach another man’s sermon verbatim as if it is your own. That’s not only preaching or teaching a lie, it’s living one. It is okay to speak, “John Doe wrote this in his sermon, The Love of God, in 2014… and he said…” I know many preachers who do this, and it is well received. When operating in integrity, we can never get tired of doing what is proper and Godly.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. When publishing in print digitally or on paper, you must go through the tedious process of attributing text. If you don’t have time to do this, then do not publish the blog or writing. It’s stealing. As mentioned earlier, attribution is required not optional. When you put something in print under your own name, the name of your church, business or company or even on a general blog – it must be sourced. Period. Further, it is never okay to “take anyone’s entire work – even with attribution” and print it without authorization. There are definitive limits on how much of ANYONE’S text you can reprint!

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If necessary, take a course! Every university has courses on plagiarism open to the public.

CHAPTER TEN

Repent & Turn from Sin

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 CJB says, “Then, if my people, who bear my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”

 

Yes, even people in the church building can have evil ways. To think that salvation means that we have immediately corrected every area of our lives is a huge misconception. What it does mean is that the Christ in us is at work in perfecting the inner man into his image. Translated: Theresa Harvard Johnson has not arrived! She is still being made into the image of God DAILY!

It means that we have the help of the PERFECT son to fully wash and cleanse this nasty, sin-filled soul. Without the hope of Christ and his blood-washing power, we would still be a lost people. To make this thing right, the first step is earnest repentance and true passion to change.

Even in the midst of this cry of repentance that God has sent forth, there is a powerful promise in this often quoted passage of scripture. I chose this one because it speaks of being humbled, praying and seeking the heart of God as a POSTURE for repentance. Those practicing plagiarism is in need of this posture. Note that the first step here is TO HUMBLE ONE’S SELF. Father told me once, when I was unable to let go of a sin in my life that I was holding on to that sin because of pride. Sounds strange, right? Well, Holy Spirit helped me realize that I didn’t want to “admit” that I had a problem. Even worse, I didn’t want to openly confess that problem or admit the sin. Well, that was pride! If I had been caught committing that sin during that time EVERYONE dear to me would have known about it anyway, and God would have had to BREAK ME to bring the humility in. So, I go past myself, confessed it and brought the dirt out of darkness before the enemy had a chance to do so. While there were consequences that I had to face, God spared me public humiliation and quickly brought restoration to me in that area.

2 Chronicles 7:14 in context comes against the very character of the father of lies, and remains the standard for approaching the throne room of grace given to us through Jesus Christ. It’s a scripture that provides a beautiful picture of prostration before a Holy God.

If you are guilty of plagiarism, please know that God is just and righteous to forgive. When we confess our sin to Him or to one another, satan ceases to have power over us and the slate is cleaned. Are there still consequences of our actions that may have to play out? Sure there are, but now, that soul can face those consequences with an advocate – Jesus Christ. Will there be a place or point when the person who has sinned has to reach out to those they sinned against and ask for forgiveness? Well, sometimes God does require this, but please know that you won’t have to do this alone either – Jesus Christ will be with you.

The point here is this: God wants reconciliation to come mightily to ALL of us – not just the person who was wounded, but to all. Rev. O’Neal, the minister, who was given a second chance after plagiarizing, is a perfect example of how God can restore. In reading parts of his testimony in the New York Times, you can sense godly sorrow – at least I was able to do so, and THIS IS WHAT GOD WANTS. God can use this man’s testimony to boldly encourage others!

Listen, while this book has specifically addressed spiritual plagiarism, the conversation on repentance is one for all sin. In my own life I have learned that the adversary comes to condemn, pile guilt and hopelessness upon us in a desire to produce death, meaning kill anything in us that our Father wants to grow or mature. God, however, comes to bring conviction with the singular focus of having a son or a daughter return to Him. Like the prodigal son’s return, His motive is to simply love you into truth. Period. Yes, we must beware of the enemy’s devices and posture ourselves to overcome. Yes, there is evil in the world operating through people – but the end game is to convict the world of sin, convince them of Christ’s power, and to stand with Christ in the ministry of reconciliation.

 

Jeremiah 31:3 CJB says, “From a distance ADONAI appeared to me, [saying,] “I love you with an everlasting love; this is why in my grace I draw you to me.”

 

Whenever God exposes sin, there is often a measure of grace that is extended. It is His way! There will, or should I say, is an opportunity before you to redirect your heart, but the choice is yours.

 

Romans 5:20 CJB says, “And the Torah came into the picture so that the offence would proliferate; *but where sin proliferated, grace proliferated even more._ All this happened so that just as sin ruled by means of death, so also [_*grace might rule through causing people to be considered righteous, so that they might have eternal life, through Yeshua the Messiah, our Lord.”]

 

Teachings on grace are often incomplete, as previously mentioned. Grace is by no means a license to sin; rather, it is Christ’s atonement being placed before us again and again to PROVIDE US opportunities in which we can turn from sin and embrace the truth of God. The outcome of grace, in the eyes of God, produces a life of obedience, sanctification, holiness and fear before the Lord. It DOES NOT produce a live-any-kind-of-way-and-repent cycle.

 

If you have fallen prey to plagiarism, PRAY this prayer with me as we stand in Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 13:52 and 2 Chronicles 7:14:

 

Father, in the name of Jesus, I come to you confessing that I have been liar, a deceiver and a thief. I have chosen to follow the father of lies. I denounce the spirit of thievery according to John 10:10 and specifically the act of plagiarism in every area of my life – natural and spiritual. Father, I repent and ask you to forgive me for my sins.

 

I confess the sin of pride, competition, envy, jealousy and greed. I confess idolatry, control and the spirit of manipulation. I confess that I have not loved you or loved my neighbor as myself. Crush my heart that I may learn to love as you love. Father, I repent and ask you to forgive me for my sin. I confess that I have wounded others and wounded myself with my actions. I repent for bringing division in the midst of my brethren and ask you to forgive me for my sin.

 

Father, I ask you build in me a clean heart and that you renew my mind with the mind of Christ. Holy Spirit, I give you permission to make me accountable for my actions and to show and guide me in Father’s perfect will for my life. Help me to make the right choices from this day forward. Teach me, dear Father, to be attentive to your word and your will for me – that I may hear you clearly and know your voice when you speak.

 

Every place where I have given the adversary access to my soul, I ask that you fill them with your truth and close the doors that I have opened. I declare before you today their Father that I will come in the volume of the book that is written of me, Hebrews 10:7 to do your will in Jesus Name. Amen.

 

Bibliography

 

Barna, George. Growing True Disciples. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2001.

Tribune News, Chicago Tribune, (Sept. 10, 2004), http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2004-09-10/news/0409100324_1_sermons-preachers-plagiarism

Dan Barry, David Barry, Dan, David Barstow, Jonathan D. Glater, Adam Liptak, and Jacques Steinberg. New York Times. 11 May 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/us/correcting-the-record-times-reporter-who-resigned-leaves-long-trail-of-deception.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm (accessed 5 13, 2013).

Leung, Rebecca. Stephen Glass: I Lied For Esteem. 11 February 2009.

Luo, Michael. The New York Times. 28 July 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/28/nyregion/28pastor.html?_r=0 (accessed May 11, 2013).

Plagiarism Page. 30 September 2002. http://www.neiu.edu/~ejhowens/plagiarism/ (accessed May 6, 2013).

Purdue University. “Avoiding Plagiarism.” Purdue University Writing Labe. 1 January 2007. http://www.wadsworth.com/english_d/special_features/plagiarism/WPAplagiarism.pdf (accessed 4 22, 2013).

Smith, Dinetia, and Motoko Rich. “ A Second Ripple in Plagiarism Scandal.” The New York Times. 2 May 2006. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/02/books/02auth.html?_r=0 (accessed 5 14, 2013).

Stolley, Karl, Allen Brizee, and Joshua M. Paiz. Purdue Online Writing Lab. 27 3 2013. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/589/01/ (accessed 4 22, 2013).

Trevizo, Perla. Times Free Press. 24 June 2011. http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2011/jun/24/university-president-admits-plagiarism/ (accessed May 11, 2013).

Turnitin: iParadigms LLC. Plagiarism Report: Websources For Unoriginal Content in Student Writing. Oakland, 2011.

University of Alberta. Information Literacy at the University of Alberta. 2010. http://www.psych.ualberta.ca/~ITL/InfoLit%20v.2.0/MODULE5/06-whyplagiarize.html (accessed May 12, 2013).

University of Southern Mississippi. What is plagiarism? 27 April 2004. http://www.lib.usm.edu/legacy/plag/whatisplag.php (accessed May 11, 2013).

Young, Robert J. Ethics In Ministry. 2001. http://www.surfinthespirit.com/church/ethics-ministry.html (accessed May 12, 2013).

CITATION/ATTRIBUTION RESOURCES

 

Getting Permission: Copyright Crash Course

How to obtain reprint/republishing rights to copyrighted work. How to contact or locate hard to find authors or owners. http://copyright.lib.utexas.edu/permissn.html

 

Copyright Clearance Center

Where to go when you need reprint or relicensing permission for any published work.

http://www.copyright.com/

 

Getting Permission by Richard Stem

Must have comprehensive book on getting permission to use anything from artwork to audio snippets.

http://amazon.com

[
Chicago Style Manual]

Everything you need to know about common style and citation methods in an academic environment.

http://amazon.com

 

Associated Press Style Manual

Everything you need to know about common attribution and style methods for print news reporting.

http://amazon.com

 

Christian Writer’s Style Manual

Insight on how to style for Christian writing and common attribution methods specific to our faith

http://amazon.com

 

MEET THE AUTHOR

Theresa Harvard Johnson is best known for her revelatory insight, understanding and apostolic teachings surrounding the ministry of the prophetic scribe and prophetic writing. Walking under a heavy apostolic mandate, Theresa has an intense desire to see the ministry of the prophetic scribe fully restored within the congregation, particularly as it relates to those scribes destined to lead at a global capacity, especially those intricately positioned in government, education, worship and the arts.

 

Available Books:

Graphic Design & the Prophetic

Writing & the Prophetic

The Scribal Realm of Dreams & Visions

The Scribal Realm Companion (Dream & Impact Journal)

The Scribal Anointing: Scribes Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven
The Scribal Companion Student Workbook
Scribal Purpose: 10 Reasons Why God Has Called You to Write
The Sin of Spiritual Critiquing Literary Works
Literary Evangelism Beyond The Open Mic
The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels
40 Signs of a Prophetic Scribe
Signs of a Scribal Prophet
50 Indisputable Biblical Facts About the Ministry of the Prophetic Scribe

*Books are available on Amazon.com

Email: [email protected]
Resource Center: voicesofchrist.com[
School:] schoolofthescribe.com

 

 


The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels

In this book, The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism, the author takes us on a journey through Father's heart to expose the agenda of the adversary in which some believers have fallen prey by stealing the ideas, visions and words of others and claiming them as their own. Learn what is the perfect and present will of the Father in the midst of this prevalent sin, and explore His perfect plan for restoration. (Updated 2016)

  • ISBN: 9781370285266
  • Author: Theresa Harvard Johnson
  • Published: 2016-11-28 20:20:19
  • Words: 21405
The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels