3GT Episode 56: Stop! Thief!

On occasion the guys address one of the Ten Commandments, and on this episode it is Number 8: “You shall not steal.” Pretty simple, right? Hold on. From pillaging to pilfering to plagiarizing, thievery can take many forms. In our modern, digitized world, the temptations and ability to steal are multiplied. And the thief is not always “out there.” He may reside in our own hearts. What hope and instruction does the gospel give about this issue?

Join the 3GTers as they discuss and apply God’s Law. (Note: The picture accompanying this episode is courtesy of Pixabay, a free imaging resource :).


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  1. Keith Wing October 18, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    Not sure this is all as clear to the common person (such as I). If I simply say “I want to make America great again” would I have to then also cite Donald Trump who recently popularized the phrase, but whom I doubt really created the statement. Further, in the “nothing new under the sun” category, is there really anything we might write or say that not already been said or written? I have my thoughts, but I have no certainty about whether or not I have any original thoughts. To what extent do the guidelines or principles addressed here apply to our spoken word versus our written word? If I pray in public using phrases, concepts, pleas and confessions that I have read elsewhere, must I also insert those references, if i can remember or find them? Would like to see this extended and addressed some more.

    • Barry York October 18, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

      Good questions! The discussion certainly could be extended more, and we may do a Rewind episode in the near future to touch on listeners’ questions on this and other topics.

      However, a brief response with three further principles is offered in the hope it might be helpful.

      First, the context of either spoken or written words is crucial to answering questions like these. If our words, whether spoken or written, reflect what we have read or heard elsewhere are given through honest digestion and re-verbalization, there’s usually not a need to credit. Or, in the example you give above, the words are so known everyone knows the contextual intent or so common (Columbus sailed in 1492) there’s no telling the source. But if we purposefully take the ideas or words of others and present them verbatim (or just twist them a bit to hide that fact) as our own, we enter into plagiarizing.

      That leads to the second principle. This issue is a heart matter. That’s why it’s not always easy to discern what is proper, and why we should work hard to keep our conscience blameless before God and man.

      Third, we should always deflect glory to others. So if in the case we have re-verbalized a prayer or quote of another without crediting, and someone then came and noted their appreciation, it would be Christ-like to explain we read those thoughts elsewhere, a mentor impressed them on us, etc.

  2. Joshua Bright November 20, 2017 at 9:04 pm #

    Thanks for the thought provoking discussion! If you do make a rewind episode on this I’d be interested in hearing your opinions on an idea I had presented to me a while back. (Unfortunately it was so long ago that I cannot remember its originator.) Whoever it was suggested that the whole idea of copyright is a pretty new invention that was meant to secure the incomes of publishers (not thinkers) in the face of new technology that would make a lot of competition for them. Before that time, people were free to take and build on former ideas at their leisure. We can see an example of this in classical music where composers would use parts of pieces of their contemporaries and it was considered praise for the person who had done so well as to have his work borrowed. But now progress is hindered because even if you have a great way to build on your contemporaries (or even dead predecessors) you have to get permission from the patent/copyright holder which is often a company/university who required its employees to sign over all of their intellectual “property” as a condition of employment. Is copyrighting/patenting stealing both from the smart people who are behind the scenes and get little credit as well as the rest of the world who could be advancing their ideas if their distribution wasn’t so limited by law?

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