Research file - Plagiarism by Contemporary Religions Leaders

Table 1.

Chart of Contemporary Religious Figures Accused of Plagiarism in the Latter Half of the Twentieth Century to the Present

© Copyright 2003, By William M. Alnor

Compiler's note: This chart is from an early, but incomplete draft from Professor William Alnor's doctoral dissertation from Temple University's Mass Media and Communications Program in April 2003. Distribution of this copyrighted list is prohibited. It has been placed on line with the hope that others in the contemporary religious media can comment on it, and even add to this list for Mr. Alnor's ongoing plagiarism project, which will become public information at a later point. This does not imply that anyone supplying Mr. Alnor with additional tips has become a researcher in his doctoral dissertation project. Ultimately, Mr. Alnor will personally investigate all tips. Also, this list is not an indictment of any of the individuals listed here. It is simply an incomplete compilation of religious personalities from the latter half of the Twentieth Century to the present who have been publicly accused of plagiarism. Please help with the project by writing Mr. Alnor at




Hendrick "Hank" Hanegraaff

President of the Christian Research Institute of Southern California. Host of the Bible Answer Man Broadcast, heard daily worldwide on more than 100 stations. (evangelical) Also author of some evangelical best-sellers, including Christianity in Crisis.

Accused of plagiarizing prominent radio and television preacher D. James Kennedy of Florida in Hanegraaff's book, Personal Witness Training. He was also accused of plagiarizing The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne and Jerry Lucas and The Roth Memory Course by David M. Roth.

Richard Abanes

Prominent evangelical author of 12 books. Associated with Hanegraaff.

In April 2003, Abanes was accused of plagiarizing evangelical author Kurt Van Gorden’s chapter on the Church of Scientology from The Kingdom of the Cults (1997 edition) in his book Cults, New Religious Movement, and Your Family (1998). Earlier in the year Abanes was publicly accused of plagiarizing material from authors Don Stewart and Josh McDowell in the same book. Abanes was exonerated of strict plagiarism accusations in that case, but admitted in that case of sloppy footnoting techniques.

Hal Lindsey

An evangelical who became one of the twentieth century’s best-selling authors due to his writings on Bible Prophecy. He has written a number of best-sellers, including The Late Great Planet Earth

Accused of multiple plagiarism incidents in various books.

Chuck Missler

A prominent evangelical and conference speaker. Director of Koinonia House of Idaho

Admitted plagiarizing a portion of Professor Edwin Yamauchi (Miami of Ohio) University) 1982 book, Foes From the Northern Frontier in his own 1992 book (co-written by Lindsey) titled The Magog Factor.

Jack Van Impe

Known as "The Walking Bible" and host of the popular television program he hosts with his wife, Rexella, Jack Van Impe Presents.

Accused in his newsletter, Perhaps Today, of plagiarizing evangelical author Grant Jeffrey’s book, The Final Warning.

Bob Larson

Popular but scandalized radio talk show host and evangelical writer. Host Talk-back with Bob Larson program.

Accused of plagiarising Susan Jean Palmer’s 1995 essay, "Women in the Raelian Movement: New Religious Experiments in Gender and Authority" in his book, UFOs and the Alien Agenda. (1997)

Jerry Falwell

Popular television preacher and former leader of the Moral Majority organization. He is also pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, and founder/president of Liberty University

In The Fundamentalist Phenomenon (1981) a book he edited with Ed Dobson and Ed Hinson, he was accused of plagiarizing George Dollar’s 1973 book, A History of Fundamentalism in America.

Tim LaHaye

Popular evangelical pastor and author of numerous books, including a co-author of the contemporary "Left Behind" series that is breaking publishing records.

Accused of plagiarizing Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth (1970) in his book, The Beginning of the End (1972). Also accused of plagiarizing Lindsey’s There’s a New World Coming (1973) in his book Understanding the Last Days (1998). He was also accused of plagiarizing the late Dr. John Walvoord’s book The Blessed Hope and the Tribulation (1976) in his book, No Fear of the Storm (1992)

Charles Ryrie

Prominent evangelical author and scholar associated with the Ryrie Study Bible

Accused of plagiarizing Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth (1970) in his book, The Living End (1976). Also accused of plagiarizing Lindsey’s There’s a New World Coming (1973) in the same book.

Paul Lee Tan

Evangelical author and professor at Dallas Theological Seminary

Accused of plagiarising Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth (1970) in his A Pictorial Guide to Bible Prophecy (1991)

David Jeremiah

Prominent pastor, evangelical author and radio preacher heard daily internationally on his "Turning Point" broadcast.

Accused of plagiarizing with his co-author C.C. Carlson (who coauthored Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth) the Lindsey book in his 1990 book, Escape the Coming Night. Inventories of the book were destroyed by the publisher.

Kenneth Hagin

Prominent Pentecostal and Word-faith leader and television preacher who founded the Rhema Bible Institute of Tulsa, Oklahoma. His "Faith Seminar of the Air" broadcast is heard on more than 300 radio stations internationally

Accused of extensive plagiarism of the late bible teacher E.W. Kenyon in a variety of his publications.

W.A. Criswell

The late pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, one of the largest churches in American, with more than 20,000 members. Criswell was also founder of a Bible college, and was a popular radio and television preacher.

In his 1969 book, Why I Preach that the Bible is Literally True, he was accused of plagiarizing R.S. Torrey’s 1907 book, Difficulties and Alleged Errors and Contradictions in the Bible. Criswell was also accused of lifting portions of Davis’ Notes on Matthew in his book, Expository Notes on the Gospel of Matthew.

Spiros Zodhiates

Prominent radio preacher and director of AMG Publishers

His firm made a payment to Moody Press for the unauthorized use of materials from Moody’s 1980 Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

Jimmy Swaggart

Disgraced Pentecostal radio and television preacher who lost most of his following following several sexual scandals of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Swaggart was sued in June 2001 for allegedly plagiarizing various sections of religious publications written by the late Rev. Finis Dake, including theft from his annotated Bible and the book God’s Plan for Man.

Paul Crouch

Leader of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world’s largest religious network.

Accused in a lawsuit that was settled with an undisclosed cash sum at the end of 2002 of plagiarising Sylvia Fleener’s self-published book, The Omega Syndrome, in TBN’s own book and film The Omega Code.

Darrick Evenson (a.k.a. "Troy Lawrence)

Mormon writer

Accused of plagiarizing in his 1991 book, New Age Messiah Identified

Martin Luther King Jr.

The late civil rights leader and Baptist minister

Accused of plagiarizing his Ph.D. dissertation from Boston University from an earlier dissertation. Numerous other writings where also accused of plagiarism, as well as some of King’s speeches.

Winston Frost

A professed evangelical and former Dean of the Trinity Law School in Southern California. Dismissed from Trinity on plagiarism allegations he formed his own law school, the Desert College of Law in Palm Springs, Calif., where he serves as dean.

He was accused, according to the August 20, 2001 Christianity Today article of "using large word-by-word sections out of an encyclopedia for his article, `The Development of Human Rights Discourse: A History of the Human Rights Movement.'" The article goes on to note that other allegations surfaced, including "a 1983 paper by legal scholar Jerome J. Shestack. There were also claims that "Frost's master's thesis also plagiarized." Then in April 2003, journalist William Alnor reported that portions of his Desert College of Law website, including his "message from the dean," plagiarized from two sources, including the Trinity Law School catalogue and from the nearby California Southern Law School

Deepak Choprah

Eastern oriented spiritual writer who is popular with the secular media. Best-selling author.

Accused of stealing a Stanford professor’s work on physics. Reached an out of court settlement over plagiarism with another writer over a second work.




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