Churchwarden Børge Lund got ChatGPT to write an Easter sermon. Professor Idar Kjøsvik gives the text a grade C – Vårt Land

Churchwarden Børge Lund got ChatGPT to write an Easter sermon.  Professor Idar Kjøsvik gives the text a grade C – Vårt Land

How does it work if you entrust the Easter sermon to ChatGPT?

The warden of the church in Sør Inhrad, Burg Lund, would like an answer to that.

Since ChatGPT’s launch last fall, laypeople and experts alike have been surprised, excited, and awed by the program’s ability to generate detailed, well-crafted texts on almost any topic.

Lund says he and a colleague have followed the evolution of AI over time, and have allowed themselves to be fascinated by ChatGPT’s properties.

He has proven to deliver surprisingly good scripts. So we played with it a little bit, and then we got the idea: How about a devotional?

According to Ned, the results are “completely usable.”

It can be put in context

Among other things, he asked the program to create a sermon based on the Gospel of Mark 16, 1-8, which is about women who discover that Jesus’ tomb was empty. In less than a minute, ChatGPT generates seven paragraphs on how to understand the verses – as if they were to be held as a devotional.

For example, this is an excerpt:

The program also allows you to ask follow-up questions or provide input along the way.

So Lund asked if he couldn’t “bring in a little Romans 6,3-11”.

The bot replies, “Sure, let’s include some words from Romans 6,3-11 that give a deeper understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for us Christians,” before continuing:

ChatGPT Preaching to the Romans

Lund describes the development as both exciting and intimidating, and believes it is important to have a conscious and critical relationship with how the chatbot is used.

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Church keeper Burg Lund

– But I am careful not to have a mere negative angle on the matter. ChatGPT can never replace a human being, but it can also be used as a constructive tool.

For example, it mentions the initial phase of a text, where the program can help outline or provide inspiration for points.

gets a stamp of approval

Lund posted a sermon on Facebook, where ChatGPT preaches John 3:16, asking him to put the verse in the context of Easter.

In the comments section below the post, Idar Kjølsvig, professor of theology at Nord University, was asked to rate the sermon.

Kjølsvig is indeed Lund’s cousin, and he makes the following judgment:

– This is a well-written cult cult that would get you a C. In addition, you should take advantage of people’s love lives to get the best score.

In the Grading Handbook for Higher Education Institutions, grade C is described as follows:

“Satisfactorily consistently good performance in most areas. Candidate demonstrates good judgment and independence in the most important areas.”


  • Stands for Pre-Trained Public Chat Transformers and was launched in November 2022
  • It is the so-called “chatbot”, that is, a computer program with which you can chat.
  • It is trained to understand and generate texts and information based on vast amounts of textual material.
  • So it will often be able to reproduce stereotypes, prejudices or misinformation.

American in style

To Vårt Land, Kjølsvig deepens the character. He says that he has valued and judged theological texts throughout his adult life, and that the texts certainly have many qualities. However, there is something troubling:

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Idar Kgolsvik

It’s not easy to put one’s finger on, but something feels wrong all the time, he says.

Keolswig tried to find out what this “something” was, and came to the conclusion that he was preaching in a very American way. He himself had worked in Pinceton in New Jersey, and was acquainted with the manner of speaking.

– It’s a very beautiful language and beautiful words – but we don’t use words like that in Norwegian, he says.

In addition, the robot is given motions to use only one theory of reconciliation, that is, theories on how to restore the broken relationship between God and man.

I think a person is more likely to be saved by a Norwegian and humane tirade than it would be by an American and mechanical tirade.

Idar Kgolsvik

Angry twist

But the question then is, according to Keolsvig: How long will it take before he learns the Norwegian preaching style?

– I may allow myself to be deceived until next Easter. Kjølsvig says development is very fast and it won’t stop.

According to him, it is clear that everyone who works in schools and academia has faced a great challenge, but it is very clear that the world will not “end” because of this.

Not a super missionary

Is there a theological issue about using a bot for practical theological tasks, such as writing a sermon?

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– No, you can’t pass any moral judgment on machines. They are not punks, they are Unethical.

So there is no challenge in asking the machine to write a devotional. However, how it is served is another matter:

Lying is still immoral. If you give the impression that it is something you wrote yourself, then you are breaking the seventh commandment.

However, Kjolsvig does not believe that Norwegian priests will be inclined to refer to writing sermons in the first place. As a reference book and source of inspiration, it has its function, he says, in the same way that reference books and sermon tools did long ago.

– I don’t think that these speeches would have been successful. To put it this way: I think you are more likely to save someone in a humanistic, Norwegian sermon than in an American and robotic one.

Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

"Web specialist. Lifelong zombie maven. Coffee ninja. Hipster-friendly analyst."

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