Janet Mefford accuses Pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarizing during a heated radio interview. (Image courtesy of Mars Hill Church - http://bit.ly/17PfWfr)

Janet Mefford accuses Pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarizing during a heated radio interview. (Image courtesy of Mars Hill Church – http://bit.ly/17PfWfr)

Syndicated Christian radio host Janet Mefferd accused Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism on her Nov. 21 broadcast. Mefferd claimed that Driscoll quoted extensively from the work of Dr. Peter Jones for at least 14 pages in his book, A Call to Resurgence, without direct or proper citation.

“In this book,” Driscoll responded, “I took [Jones’] big idea and worked it out through the cultural implications but I wasn’t working specifically from his text.”

Peter Jones is an author and adjunct professor at Westminister Seminary California whose areas of interest include “ancient and medieval paganism.” Driscoll said that most of what he’s learned from Dr. Jones was acquired in conversations over meals where Driscoll was not taking notes.

“Don’t you think that it’s important when you’re using someone else’s materials that you footnote the person?” Mefferd pressed.

Driscoll acknowledged that he, in fact, did make mention of Jones in the footnotes once, though it was an unspecific citation without page numbers.

“If I made a mistake,” he said, “then I apologize to Dr. Jones, my friend…that was not my intent, for sure.”

But this did not satisfy Mefferd, who continued to press Driscoll: “It troubles me, though, Mark because I’ve read Peter Jones, I know Peter Jones … and this is his intellectual property and you don’t give him any credit for it.”

At this point, the interview grows tense. Driscoll accused Mefferd of “having sort of a grumpy day” and “giving me orders in front of an audience.” He said that he believed the question was “rude”, “unkind”, and the intent behind it “is not very Christlike.”

“I don’t think we need to go ad hominem on me about it,” Mefferd responded. “You’re the one whose going to have to answer for this. It’s not right what you did, Mark.”

“This is not just unethical, I think,” she continued. “I think this is something you could be sued under under copyright law for intellectual property. I’m really concerned for the legal aspect for Tyndale House.”

I contacted the publicity department at Tyndale House Publishers and requested a comment on the matter. Todd Starowitz of Tyndale provided the following statement:

Tyndale House Publishers was provided a recording of the show by representatives of Pastor Driscoll. A number of people at Tyndale reviewed the tape and were stunned, not only by the accusations, but by the belligerent tone of Ms. Mefferd’s questioning. When Ms. Mefferd asked Pastor Driscoll her first question to accuse him of plagiarism, she did not invoke Peter Jones’s name. The first person that Pastor Driscoll credited in his response was Mr. Jones. Pastor Driscoll also credits Mr. Jones in the section that Janet refers to in Mark’s book, A Call to Resurgence.

Tyndale has taken immediate steps as in the process of reviewing the section of Pastor Driscoll’s book that has been called into question. Pastor Driscoll has also reached out to Mr. Jones and we expect to be able to release some information on his reaction to the interview very soon.

He went on to say that though Mefferd accused Driscoll of hanging up on her at the end of the interview, in the raw audio provided by representatives of Driscoll, he is clearly heard saying, “I’m still here.” (RNS has obtained a copy of the last two minutes of raw footage, which can be heard here.)

Indeed, Mefferd is claiming that Driscoll hung up on her:

https://twitter.com/JanetMefferd/status/403917622502100992

Driscoll himself has been outspoken on the matter of plagiarism. The FAQ section on the Mars Hill Church website warns against stealing Driscoll’s intellectual property. In his book, Vintage Church, Driscoll spoke out against preaching other pastor’s material:

Do not speak anyone else’s messages. Doing so amounts to plagiarism, unless you get permission. Worse, it subverts God’s work in and through you… If you use the work of others, you are not a teacher, and you should quit your job and do anything but speak. (p. 105)

Telephone and email requests for an official comment left with Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church and Communications Manager Justin Dean on Friday were not returned.

The edited interview can be heard here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx7740tlqjk

**UPDATE: Tyndale has provided the last two minutes of the raw audio file, which prove Pastor Mark Driscoll did not hang up as Mefferd has claimed: http://audiour.com/playlist/3lewj0or**

**RELATED: See my follow-up column on new developments in this story: “More allegations of plagiarism surface against Mark Driscoll”**

**RELATED: “Mefferd producer reportedly resigns over Mark Driscoll controversy”**

189 Comments

  1. Janet Mefferd seems to be just trying to drag out some dirt on Pastor Mark. Mark clearly gives Mr. Jones credit right away. Ms. Mefferd just needs to get overherself and just drop this issue and stop being so unChristianlike.

    • Agreed. And, not only that, but we don’t call out our brothers and sisters in Christ over live radio in front of thousands of people. We are commanded to go to them in person… with grace and humility. Ms. Mefferd should publicly apologize to Mr. Driscoll.

      • @ Cheerios said, “Agreed. And, not only that, but we don’t call out our brothers and sisters in Christ over live radio in front of thousands of people.”

        What? the Bible teaches no such thing.

        If you are a public person who seeks publicity (as Driscoll does), who writes a book released in public and go around granting interviews about it for online newspapers and television shows, you better be prepared to get push back, questions, and criticism.

        Driscoll’s publicity team approached Mefferd’s people about being on her show, not vice versa. If Driscoll does not want push back from journalists, he should retire from the public eye, stop writing books, and stop asking journalists to interview him.

      • That’s only for when someone sins personally against you, that is, privately. If you need police intervention for safety, fine, but Matt 18 on going to someone privately does not apply here. Driscoll did not sin against Mefferd. He sinned publicly in the various examples of plagiarism. Matt 18 does not apply to that. Likewise, for example and clarity, preaching is public, even within a single church. You are not required by Matt 18 to go to the pastor first before warning someone else, “Be careful; that church preaches false doctrines.” (False doctrines are a form of blasphemy.) Please don’t misapply Mattew 18, but do keep using it in its proper setting.

    • Are you serious? Driscoll was rude and obviously cannot handle someone simply pressing him for an answer. Which is really funny coming from a guy who likes to depict himself as a tough, he-man kind of person.

      There was nothing “unchristlike” about Mefferd’s approach, tone. She simply will not allow herself to be bullied by a bully such as Driscoll.

      BTW, nobody needs to “drag out dirt on Driscoll” it’s all out there in the open, with his weird claim to have “porn o visions,” that he likes to throw people at his church “under the bus” if they don’t do as he says, with his sexist and weird view about Esther in the Old Testament being a skanky harlot, and his sexist views and odd obsession with commenting on how manly and masculine he perceives other men to be.

      Mark Driscoll makes Mark Driscoll look bad.

      • I’m not a fan of MD per se. He has some positive qualities, many questionable characteristics too. However, I didn’t perceive him as rude at all. He answered the question very clearly (if I erred, I’ll fix it, wasn’t intentional etc) but she kept pushing for an answer she obviously wasn’t going to get. Why keep going on about it when he clearly wasn’t going to budge? Plus, he didn’t hang up which now makes HER sound bad! Did she mute him? Did she not hear him? It still makes her look bad. Just wait for the statement now from Peter Jones saying he has no problem with the book/citation or lack thereof!

        She was obnoxious to say the least. This was my first exposure to her and doesn’t make me want to listen to her ever again. I’m sure that makes me look bad the same way Mark Driscoll makes Mark Driscoll look bad.

  2. A couple of “Christian celebrities” squabbling in public. I already had more than my fill of that with the “Strange Fire” conference and Mark’s publicity stunt. We have more important concerns in the church other than watching a clash of egos.

  3. Eric Martinez

    Wow, Mefferd starts the entire “interview” by attacking him repeatedly and doesn’t let up, does she? I know her show is done for an inside audience, and therefore doesn’t really need to adhere to any real journalistic ethic, but it is presented under the guise of presenting real news. Instead, she makes no effort to hide her obvious disdain for Mark Driscoll, which colors the whole “interview” (ambush is a better word).

    Update…ok, just looked at Mefferd’s Facebook page. She’s not a journalist. She’s an entertainer pretending to be someone who presents the news, à la John Stewart, Glen Beck or Bill Maher. Got it.

    • @ Eric Martine.
      You got the entire situation backwards. Driscoll was in error and was a condescending, pompous jackass, as is his usual persona.

      Mefferd mentioned on her radio show that she told Driscoll’s people (who approached her about him being on her show, she did not invite him), before the interview that there would be some tough questions asked, so it was no “ambush.”

      Driscoll likes to present himself as being a tough, manly he-man, but when push comes to shove, he cannot stand toe to toe with a grown woman who will not cave in to his bullying, arrogant behavior – I love it.

      • Clearly a devotee of Mefferd who will only see one side of this argument.

        It seems like a legit question, he answered it repeatedly but as someone above said, she seems like a Glen Beck/Jon Stewart type presenter, not a journalist per se.

        Neither of them will have endeared themselves to any neutrals or seekers but certainly not Mefferd, more so than Driscoll.

      • Wow Daisy. You should be grieved that this is going on in public before thousands of people rather than praising the lady for a magnificent display of pride. It is foolishness. Repent Daisy. Get in the word. I’m praying for you.

        • It is just common courtesy. These are two believers. I’m leaning towards believing that Mark plagiarized, but why is Janet putting on a show and turning it into a scandal before confronting him privately. I can’t believe people are defending this boorish behavior. She should have just called him up or written him a letter, first. This is how we want to be treated when we screw up as we all will?

  4. Wow! This is ridiculous… No wonder people hate Christians and are leaving the church in droves! This interview was an unfair ambush and super sad. Check out my friends book www.whyweeatourown.com about this issue!

      • “They hate us because we are super awesome.”

        WIth logic like that, you can turn any criticism — even well-founded criticism — into a pat on the back.

        Sometimes we’re not that awesome.

      • Alleyne Evans

        The idea that Mark Driscoll bears any notable resemblance to Jesus Christ is laughable. I’m actually, literally laughing out loud thinking of it.

  5. A part of this conversation that gets lost in the controversy over plagiarism is the work of Dr. Jones on Paganism. As an Evangelical scholar of new religions and interreligious dialogue, and who has specialized in engaging contemporary Paganism, I would strongly disagree with Dr. Jone’s methods of describing and engaging Paganism. There is a more positive way of engagement that moves beyond the confrontational methods found frequently in Evangelicalism. We utilize this in places like the book I edited by Philip Johnson and Gus diZerega titled Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue (Lion, 2009). Incidentally, in the past I was invited to one of Jones’ think tanks in responding to Paganism, but when Jones discovered by approach I was quickly disinvited. My hope is that Evangelicals like Jones would consider more other approaches in our pluralistic public square.

  6. Nice coverage Jonathan. I can’t speak for the beginning part of the interview, but for those last 2 minutes of audio recording, Driscoll seemed to be handling the questioning calmly and reasonably. It’s very clear that he didn’t hang up. It looks like this exchange will only hurt the initiator. I am definitely curious to hear what Jones thinks about all this, and whether Meffered consulted Jones about this before this public conversation took place.

    • @matthewwaller said, “Driscoll seemed to be handling the questioning calmly and reasonably. It’s very clear that he didn’t hang up”

      We must have been listening to two totally different interviews. I heard Driscoll trying to evade the questions at hand, trying to dodge and weave, and he was terribly condescending to Mefferd at times in the interview.

      There was also dead silence at one point, after she asked him a question, so it’s clear either he hung up or chose to remain silent or walked off. Driscoll came off looking very bad from this interview, not Mefferd.

      • Daisy, thank you for your reply and your feedback. I just listened to the interview in its entirety (when I made the post above I just heard the last 2 mins of it). I still stand by my overall opinion that that Mefferd’s words and actions in this exchange don’t benefit her. Of course, the view of who is the “winner” of this kind of argument/debate is often very subjective; I don’t expect everyone to share my opinion. So I guess we’ll just have to agree that we disagree.

      • Daisy,

        Can you please provide one example where Mark Driscoll was condescending towards Janet? I am not a Mark Driscollite, but throughout this whole interview he handled himself with graciousness, maturity, and kindness in the face of belligerence. The only condescension and rudeness I heard came from Janet. Mark Driscoll answered her question, “If I have made a mistake, I apologize and I will go back to Dr. Jones.” What more can you ask for? I think Janet was trying to bait Driscoll and when he didn’t bite but responded with humility she grew desperate. She saw he hadn’t come there to fight and so she deliberately edited the end of the interview to make it look like Driscoll had hung up! Maybe Mefferd needs to examine the log in her own eye before inspecting the speck in someone else’s.

        Plus, what authority does she have over Mark Driscoll? Is she under the authority of a plurality of elders and a local church? If she is trying to discipline him, which it clearly seems she is, she is in violation of Paul’s clear commands to Timothy. This maverick, lone ranger, feminist Christian needs to publicly apologize.

        Daisy, you are clearly a troll or Mefferd herself if you think Driscoll hung up. There is audio proof here that he did not.

        • Alleyne Evans

          As a veteran of radio and radio production, it’s not unusual for miscommunication between booth and host to result in a host believing that a caller has hung up when they haven’t. If the producer has muted the phone through-put to the host’s monitor, it’s possible for a caller to still be heard over the air while the host thinks that they’re gone.

    • Keith Russell

      Whether Driscoll handled the interview well is irrelevant. The important issue is whether Driscoll stole ideas and used them without attribution.

  7. Rachel Heston-Davis

    One thing everyone needs to be aware of is that, according to Mefferd, Mark’s publicity department called her up and asked for him to come on the show. She said that would be all right, as long as it’s understood that there would be some tough questions asked, and they said that was fine.

    Now, we can still debate whether the radio was the time and the place to have this conversation with Driscoll. But Driscoll’s team knew that Mefford was planning to ask tough things, and if they found that inappropriate, or thought it would be a waste of his time, they should have declined to go ahead with the interview that they themselves asked for.

    Further, if Driscoll knew Mefferd was going to ask tough things, why was he so surprised when she, in fact, did that? Why act as though he thought she was going to only talk about the book?

    If you ask me, they were both a little antsy, but I think Driscoll was trying to spin it as though he were doing her a favor and she ambushed him out of nowhere, which is not how the context of this story actually goes.

    To listen to the entire segment, including the part where Mefferd explains the background of all this, go here: http://www.janetmefferdpremium.com/2013/11/21/janet-mefferd-radio-show-20131121-hr-2/

    • refugenchrist

      Rachel, I think MD screwed up and his team, They might have assumed the tough questions were going to be related to his Strange Fire where he attempted to be disruptive and throw the staff off guard as well as to get a chuckle out of his followers. So he probably prepared for that line of questioning. See, it’s not that easy for Miss America to have to think on her feet and not know the question in advance. Nor was it easy for MD. I don’t know we want to respond in kind? But all I can say, Mark, is TOUCHÉ! What’s good for the goose is good for the ganger and what goes around, comes around and other annoying cliches. And his choir boy responses did not match his cocky attitude at Strange Fire. Probably the flu kept him off of his game?

  8. This is a complicated subject because there are at least three issues that are intertwined.

    1) The allegations of plagiarism on the part of Driscoll.

    2) How Mefferd handled the interview

    3) The claims that Driscoll hung up on Mefferd.

    Beginning with #3 It’s clear that Mefferd was mistaken. I seriously doubt that she acted maliciously and intentionally created the false impression that Driscoll hung up on her. There was a long pause and no response from Driscoll that she interpreted as him hanging up on her. She immediately went to a break and the bumper music began playing and any radio board operator will tell you that in that situation it is standard procedure to cut the channel that the interviewee was being recorded through.

    Issue #2 – Could Mefferd have handled the interview better? Sure. But she was convinced that Driscoll had not properly cited Dr. Jones’ work for an entire 14 pages of Resurgence. As a journalist she knows what plagiarism is and knows the standards for citing sources and made a judgement based on her professional experience. Furthermore, she has deep respect for Peter Jones and felt that he had been treated poorly by Driscoll. She believed that Driscoll had done something wrong and wanted this wrong to be fixed. This is not a vice on Mefferd’s part, but a virtue.

    And I would add that because Tyndale is researching this issue and has not formally issued a statement yet concerning it, that proves that Mefferd’s allegations of plagiarism have some real merit. Granted, the lack of citations could have been a mistake, an error or an over site. But, if she were merely over reacting then they would have already dismissed all of this.

    #1 This is not the first time Driscoll has been accused of plagiarism. Late September of this year allegations surfaced that chapter 7 of Real Marriage was plagiarized from Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart. If you Google it you can find the claims.

      • refugenchrist

        The irony is, MD is such a publicity hound. He loves to shock other people. He usually orchestrates it. He wasn’t able to control it this time. Right or wrong, the shoe was on the other foot this time.

      • No.
        MD’s book is a published work that is being promoted by his publicity team. It is completely fair and good to point out such things publicly. I heard nothing in Mefford’s tone to be anything like a “gottcha!” If he is going to promote himself publicly, he needs to be prepared to answer any such allegations publicly.

        If the guy had any sense of decorum, he would have thanked her and explained respectfully that he would look into it. Instead, after dismissing her as a bubble-headed fundy woman who was having a bad day or whatnot, he says he’ll look into it. His fanboys are all crying foul, but it is the same sort of response Ergun Caner’s fanboys gave when it was a Muslim pointing out problems with his testimony.

  9. MD is a total liar. He talks about the “telephone game that gets played on the internet” regarding the Strange Fire Conference drama. In fact, HE was the one that dramatized it, but claiming that security confiscated his books, etc. Ridiculous.

  10. I am a regular guy who loves God and loves his family. I love the word, but am not scholarly. However, debates like this diminish the power and message of the gospel and bring light to the wrong place. Christ deserves glory but we spend time talking about other people’s ego and celebrity.

    @mikedonehey: Dear Church of America,
    PLEASE stop making non-essentials essential. Let Jesus do the wooing.
    Let Him do the offending.

    • The power of the gospel cannot be diminished by sinful (depraved) man- since it it were that easy it would have no power at all. The power of the gospel is something outside of us and is totally God. We deliver the message- most of the time through weakness and stammering and always through sinful lips. But have no fear about the power of the Gospel to save– God is the gospel ;)

  11. Well, a completely goofy encounter whose sole purpose seems to be to drum up a controversy, and therefore audience, for a no-name radio show. I’d actually put this on Driscoll’s handlers. Seriously, one look at Mefford’s website and it’s obvious she loves to swim in controversy and push people’s buttons. Doubtful it was of any benefit for his book for him to go on that show. Yet another lesson on dealing with the media: they (individually) have their own agendas, and that must be taken into account when you step out into the public eye and desire to use them to gain exposure for your own agenda.

  12. It’s not that Janet Mefferd “loves to swim in controversy & push people’s buttons.” It’s that she loves truth, and truth is controversial & pushes people’s buttons. What some may perceive as rudeness is actually directness, which I actually appreciate. I’m so tired of people lying, especially people in the public eye or in positions of authority (President Obama), & calling it everything under the sun except what it is… lying. And equally tiresome, is the fact that few people are willing to stand up for truth & confront these people because it might seem rude or mean.

    I applaud Janet for being more concerned about truth than whether she will be attacked for legitimately questioning someone whose actions don’t support the truth.

  13. This is the kind of stuff that drives non-Christians nuts. Petty arguments don’t further the Kingdom.

    One thing that’s perfectly clear is that Mark Driscoll did not hang up on Janet Mefferd. She may have stopped listening, or Salem cut off his line, but he very clearly didn’t hang up on her. She should apologize for suggesting that he did. That mistake was clearly on her end.

    I also think the best argument for him is that he immediately refers to this Harris guy before she even does. If he was attempting to not give him credit, why did he bring him into the mix before she even mentioned his name?

    • Non Christians don’t care, so they aren’t listening. So quit trying to use “Christian witness” as a reason to silence an inconvenient truth.

      Who cares if he did or didn’t, he was rude to her, lashed out at her and couldn’t handle the heat. He leaves a loooong pause (did you actually listen to the interview?) and all radio stations will cut to commercials when dead air occurs.

      Who is Harris? Did you listen to the interview? Do you mean Jones? He is swimming in hot water, he asked to go on her show, she warned his handlers she would have tough questions. He also claims to have a degree in Communications, yet tried to control the questions. Stupid. The interviewer controls the questions. (He would know that if he actually passed his degree and didn’t flunk out, or plagiarize his way through university). So, him complaining about the questions when he was the one asking to get on the show, shows who was behaving like a twit (not Mefford).

    • “If he was attempting to not give him credit, why did he bring him into the mix before she even mentioned his name?”

      Is it possible that he did so on purpose to try to preemptively disarm any questions about plagiarism? (Because of parannoia that someone might have discovered those 13-14 pages of text that were not in quotation marks?)

      • He wouldn’t even have needed to put the ideas into quotation marks- something lie footnotes on each page interacting with Jones’ work would have been a good start. I think MD made a mistake and perhaps should simply apologise and have Tyndale help him fix it. If you put this through a plagiarism detection method I think it would fail, but I’m not about to call into questions Driscoll’s character; rather I would simply push for repair.

    • Nope, Flipper, she was the interviewer. The interview asks the questions. The interviewee answers them. Driscoll, however, couldn’t handle not getting his way. He asks her if she is having a “grumpy” day – she is not, you can hear it in her voice. When trying to throw her off track with immature allegations doesn’t work, he tries to claim he wants to help her spiritually! He is caught red-handed plagiarizing and he can’t handle it, so he thinks he should be helping her???? Not! Mark is not a competent pastor. Popular, sure, but competent? Not at all. There have been plagiarizing questions raised about ‘Real Marriage’, now this. Trying to cut down Mefferd isn’t going to make the ugly truth go away. Glad she brought it up. Someone has got to show how incompetent Driscoll really is.

    • Mark Driscoll has a habit of acting poorly in interviews and then blaming the interviewer. His interview with Justin Brierly in the UK caused an uproar and hurt his image in that country.

      Christian are called to be lights in this world. That means they should answer truthfully and kindly even if they feel prevailed upon. Driscoll is not known for such behavior. And, if he did plagiarize 14 pages, it speaks to his underlying character.

  14. @chrisrosebrough She can try to explain it however she wishes but in the audio at the end of this story she is still talking and you can clearly hear Mark Driscoll say “I’m Still Here.” It may have been a miscommunication on both parties, or even a technical glitch, but it’s obvious that he didn’t hang up on her. She was wrong to suggest that he did.

    I am not a Driscoll fan but her “interview” accomplished nothing. Ask the question, get a response, and move on.

  15. The biggest issue isn’t who hung up or even the truth about whether there was plagiarism. The critical issue is that Mefferd was accusing Driscoll of sin. There is no biblical justification for her to accuse him and then badger him when he says he is willing to make any wrongs right. She is Mark’s sister first and interviewer second. So Jesus would have been pleased for Janet to confront Mark off-air about her feeling that Mark had sinned and had “stolen” from their mutual friend. Public confrontation is not a spiritual gift, and it’s not a first course of action for Christ followers. Love compels us seek truth in ways that fosters peace, not ratings. The words of Paul apply to this situation: “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all”.

  16. First I want to give thanks to Jonathan for his fair and clearly unbiased treatment of this subject. Real journalism seeks to answer questions, not drive an agenda.

    Second, speaking of agendas, of course Driscoll has an agenda. He is selling books and promoting himself. That is what people selling books do! To think otherwise is simply silly. And many people who sell books seek public platforms for promoting them.

    Enter Janet Mefferd and her syndicated radio show. Mefferd enjoys an audience that is tailor made for those writing books designed for a Christian audience. She also has an agenda that includes selling advertising. To do so, her show must have content that consistently draws listeners that advertisers want to reach. This is actually a pretty simple business model that has been in use for a long time in print and broadcast (online publishers are still learning this in my opinion).

    That Driscoll would seek to be interviewed on Mefferd’s program is not at all surprising. That she would agree to conduct such an interview is also not surprising. After listening to the entire interview, what I heard was an interviewer ask a legitimate question who did not receive the answer she wanted to hear. Driscoll (about whom I have an no opinion either way) said what he should have said: he will look into it and take corrective action if any is warranted. That should have been that though the door clearly would have been left open to follow up and see what, if anything, was done to remedy the situation, if in fact there was a situation that needed to be remedied. Time will tell!

    Had the (hopefully) unfortunate misunderstanding at the end of the interview not taken place, this probably would not be on most people’s radar. As it is, here we are discussing it. Mefferd clearly went into the interview believing that had Driscoll improperly used the intellectual property of Jones. I have two master’s degrees and am a current doctoral student. I completely relate with Mefferd on the issue of plagiarism! To be clear, it is a BIG deal and it should be called out where it is found!

    Being acquainted with a number of book authors, I can also attest to their belief that they have done their homework in terms of properly citing other authors when necessary. I have no doubt that Driscoll believes he cited Jones as necessary. I also take him at his word that if he didn’t, he would take steps to correct it. I feel some level of comfort on this as his publisher is involved in looking into the potential issue themselves.

    Having said all of that, my problem is simpler. Here we have on display the behavior of two Christian leaders (Mefferd can deny this if she likes, it doesn’t change the fact that she is seen as such as correctly pointed out by Driscoll) trying to “out grace” and “out Bible” each other. Driscoll feigning concern for Mefferd’s growth (remember, Driscoll mentions her large audience in the exchange demonstrating his own awareness of the listening audience) was just as much for the show’s audience as Mefferd’s insistence on continuing to push a line of questioning that had already been answered in a calm manner. Remember, the charge of plagiarism is a big deal! That Driscoll received the comments in such a collected way says much about him.

    Oh how quickly and easily we Christians turn on one another when we disagree! More details are forthcoming and perhaps this entire situation will show itself to be much ado about nothing.

    • I agree Chris. This is a complete embarrassment to the Christian community and The Church in general. Scripturally, this is not how we handle our issues, but rather one on one. It seems to me the only person, or rather entity, “Winning” in this situation is Satan himself. He’s loving every bit of this debate. The only person that should have a problem with this is Mr. Jones and since he probably got one of the first copies since he and Pastor Driscoll are friends, I’m guessing he doesn’t have a problem with it. So, this loud mouth woman should keep her mouth shut. If she had such a problem with the guest, she shouldn’t have had him on her show. All she did is publically crucify a fellow brother which puts her sisterhood into question. Being a woman, I don’t have a problem saying such. If she is so knowledgable, I’m surprised she doesn’t know what God’s Word says about how to handle an issue in the family of God and it definitely doesn’t mention public radio where lost people are thinking, “This is why I’m not a Christian.” Grow up! In The Lord!

      • @Jules: the interview is available for anyone who cares to listen to it. The audio provided by Mefferd’s show differs from that provided by Tyndale/Driscoll (the ending with the audio of the supposed hang-up). I do not believe that either audio file has been altered though I am certain there are those who have a view one way or the other. So, for me, the issue of the supposed hang-up by Driscoll is more than likely a misunderstanding.

        I am not sure if Driscoll plagiarized from Jones or not but have ordered both books and will form my own opinion. Regardless of my own conclusion, Mefferd has reached her own. She clearly believes Driscoll intentionally stole from Jones. Period. Not a mistake or an oversight or sloppy footnoting that was not caught by the publisher but plain, simple theft of intellectual property. Nothing Driscoll said had any influence on her opinion and I strongly suspect that nothing Jones and/or Tyndale say, apart from full agreement, will satisfy her either. She is entitled to her opinion and has the platform at her disposal to share it.

        Now, it seems to me Jones and/or Tyndale have some work to do. They may conclude that Driscoll’s existing footnotes are just fine as they are, are insufficient and should be more extensive, or that Driscoll knew he was using Jones’ material improperly and did so anyway. If Driscoll’s remarks in the interview are to be believed, Jones was fully aware of Driscoll’s forthcoming book. It would not be surprising if Jones received an advanced copy of the book for his review. Further, it should not come as a surprise if Jones approved of the book as received.

        Without the benefit of having both books in my possession to compare, I suspect the outcome will be something along the lines of Driscoll didn’t do anything “wrong” BUT should be a bit more extensive with the use of footnotes in the future. We’ll see. I believe this interview just took place last Thursday so there has been little time for anyone involved to do much (wanna bet someone has been working on this since Thursday?).

        Did we hear very different interviews? I don’t think so. I know little about either Driscoll or Mefferd and have no opinion about either person. I take both at their word as co-laborers in Christ. If there is an issue as Mefferd asserts, Driscoll has publically committed to addressing it. This discussion will continue.

  17. Scott Davidson

    Ouch. I do think she went overboard trying to “nail” Mark on the Peter Jones issue. Mark seemed very gracious in his response although I could sense his frustration of one believer getting after another.

  18. Ugh. I’m no fan of Driscoll, but I see wasted outrage all over the place these days. Please bloggers, put the lid down on your laptops.

    If someone plagiarizes,

    1) Call it to the attention of the publisher. If the writer plagiarized, the publisher will have to handle it, by pulling the books and issuing statements. If the publisher won’t do their homework, then a journalist should, and the rest of us shouldn’t be trying to deduce what we can’t. I don’t agree that things should be swept under the carpet, but I recognize I’m in no place to judge what happened. In this particular case, the publisher is looking into the matter. Can we give them some adequate time to do their job?

    2) What are the rest of us doing (myself included) besides rubbernecking at the scene of an accident, one the “police” will have to sort out anyway. Have we not got anything more important to spend our time and outrage on,– for example, the millions of people who are hungry this week?

    3) Just as I can’t decide if Driscoll was plagiarizing, I can’t decide if this woman was simply mistaken or lying about whether Driscoll hung up on her. Has she responded to the “investigation” of the tape? Has anyone asked her?

    At best, after someone in a position to know has sorted this out, this should merit a very small story, if that. It would be nice if our bloggers would be less concerned about getting a scoop — a story that isn’t fully known, because they succeed only in generating plenty of heat, but no light. And the rest of us fall for it, every single time.

    • @Tracy: Mefferd is sticking by the audio her team has made available and her belief that Driscoll hung up on her. She has responded to a tweet saying as much.

      Janet Mefferd ‏@JanetMefferd 2h
      @Chris__Sanchez Go listen to the raw audio file we have released, along
      w/statement, on FB. Doesn’t match Driscoll’s file. Get educated.

      So, given her insistence on the “rightness” of her position, we are left speculation. However, both are nationally known, public figures. Keeping this in perspective is good (thanks for the reminder) but I see nothing wrong with the dialogue.

  19. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20) Let us then talk about the ultimate good here. Is there any? Dr. Peter Jones, who some in evangelical circles consider to be a modern day Irenaeus, has given this present culture some extraordinary insights. He teaches us that there are only two religions – only two types of reality. Either you worship something inside of creation, or creation itself, which Dr. Jones has termed “oneism,” or you recognize that there is something outside of this creation which is the ultimate cause for everything that exists, termed by Jones as “twoism.” There are no other options. Those who subscribe to the religion of oneism have, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “…exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…” (Romans 1:25) As this regrettable and sorrow-filled argument unfolds between a brother and sister in Christ, perhaps the real “good” that will surface here is that believers everywhere will be introduced to the lifelong body of work by a great scholar and believer, Dr. Peter Jones.

  20. For the record, the end note referred to in the interview for the 14 pages in question from Driscoll’s book (beginning on page 39) is the following.

    5. See, for example, truthxchange.com or Peter Jones, One or Two: Seeing a World of Difference (Escondido, CA: Main Entry Editions, 2010).

  21. Not to defend Mark Driscoll, but Janet should be careful someone doesn’t call her out for impersonating a Cocker Spaniel… with that early 80′s hairdo.

    • Geez, Josh, a comment totally unworthy of a Christian. Jonathan Merritt, didn’t you think to censor this slanderous comment of a woman’s appearance? JM, you just made my bully list.

  22. There are some people on the blog criticising Janet for her interview. But the bigger picture is surely that a prominent Christian writer has been exposed as a plagiarizer – that it is the allegation – so surely the concern should focus on this issue. It is a very serious allegation.

    The fact that Janet Mefferd is a highly experienced journalist adds a lot of weight to the allegation and this should not be overlooked. If it wasn’t plagiarism then we should already have had a proper rebuttal and Driscoll should have easily been able to discount it, but he didn’t – instead he went all out to attack Janet Mefferd and defend his character generally.

    The defence against the allegation was that it may have been a ‘mistake,’ but is this a believable excuse? Mostly when people plagiarize they know what they are doing, particularly if they have been through university and also write for a living. They do it because they just grown careless and overconfident – a little bit of reflection tells them that someone is bound to notice eventually and there is no point, but they are in a sort of denial.

    So where to we go from here? I suggest focusing on whether the allegation is correct and if so what should be done about it is the way forward.

  23. I heard a large difference in the audio quality between the youtube version, and the extra 2 minutes. The youtube version Janet is crystal clear, and on the 2 minute segment they both sound like they are on cell phones.

    Does audiour distort the audio badly? I know some sites are better than others, but there is a clear difference in quality between the two recordings.

  24. It seems Janet asked a fair question. Mark answered thoroughly. She should have moved on. What I hear is someone trying to be a Nancy Grace type interviewer, provoking Mark to hang up so she can make a name for herself when the clip goes viral. She thought she had finally badgered him until he hung up and seemed satisfied that the finishing touch was done on her viral clip. Well, congrats, it worked. We’re all here talking about it. I had not heard of her until now. (But I don’t particularly ever want to hear from her again if that’s the kind of show she puts on…)

  25. As I understand it, writers approach talk show hosts so they can promote their new books. That is what the Driscoll team seems to have done. Why is the idea that Driscoll approached Mefferd even an issue? Without guests, a talk show host has to do all the talking, and people lose interest. Notice that she had time to fit him in right away to her schedule. An offer from a famous person to come on her show is like a free gift, I would think. Of course it was okay for her to ask hard questions as well.

    Driscoll is a controversial figure in many circles. He is loved by many, hated by many others. As a talk show host, Ms. Mefferd surely thought that his guest appearance would advance her career somehow. The interview was red meat for her audience, and she made sure she served it up to their liking.

    Ms. Mefferd has continued to tweet away about this incident, which delights her audience. It is great entertainment, if nothing else, and she is an entertainer.

    She does have journalistic training, so she is also a journalist. Her interviews are often very well done and quite professional.

    However, as far as this interview goes, she was very unprofessional. Generally radio hosts treat their guests well, since their shows depend on interviews. She was pretty mean to him. He can take it, of course, but why would she do that? This tweet of hers may help explain.

    Janet Mefferd ‏@JanetMefferd 23 Nov
    A fix? Pull book. Properly footnote. Publicly apologize to Jones & pay him royalties. Find new job.

    So, even after Driscoll does all that, he still needs to find another job, according to Mefferd. This tweet says it all, I think.

    I’m not sure why I even care. That bothers me more than this latest Christian hissing contest. What is the attraction for me? It must be the flesh. This is great entertainment, after all, and the Roman circus is now closed.

  26. Frosty Rucker

    I Googled Jones and Driscoll and the two have done multiple events together.

    Interview between Driscoll and Peter Jones on The Resurgence: http://theresurgence.com/2008/04/21/interview-with-peter-jones

    Peter Jones speaking at a Resurgence Event at Mars Hill Ballard: http://theresurgence.com/2008/04/21/interview-with-peter-jones

    Peter Jones speaking for a Resurgence Pastor’s workshop at Mars Hill Ballard: http://theresurgence.com/2008/04/21/interview-with-peter-jones

  27. Some people seem to be assuming that because Driscoll doesn’t raise his voice, there is no problem with anything he says. This is classic Driscoll behaviour. If you agree to be interviewed, you implicitly submit to whatever questions the interviewer sees fit to ask you. Unless you’re Mark Driscoll. This is classic Driscoll behaviour: someone says or asks something he doesn’t like, and he very quickly becomes super defensive and starts making accusations and speaking in very condescending terms (“I want you to grow too”). Basically, he behaves like someone who can’t stand to be disagreed with or challenged in any way, shape or form.

  28. He also plays the “poor little victim” card, pointing out that he’s the one who has flu and has graciously agreed to come on the show to help Janet out, and yet here she is asking him these nasty questions.

  29. Carol R. Shutley

    Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night I listen to Janet. I am a former Baptist, now Catholic, and she is wrong about lots of things she says about the Catholic Church and its teaching. I have never been in a more Christ centered church and almost all the service is scripture. Her focus on lots of issues is critical, some I agree with and some I don’t. She is sometimes wrong but never in doubt. I think she needs to guard against a critical spirit. But, she is an interesting communicator.

  30. Mefford is at comfortably at home with the extremely reformed Chris Roseborough, John MacArthur (?sp) and on-line discernment crowd. It is no surprise she would come out so aggressive from the jump and to remain such to Driscoll, not well-liked by those groups. IMO, based on what I know of her, she had an agenda.

    • So: don’t publically call out MD on issues with a book he published (and which any university worth its salt would have problems with too) but call out Mefford for calling out Driscoll? Really? Are you serious???? Do you see any problems with that statement????

  31. The fact that Janet Mefferd is a highly experienced journalist adds a lot of weight to the allegation and this should not be overlooked. If it wasn’t plagiarism then we should already have had a proper rebuttal and Driscoll should have easily been able to discount it, but he didn’t – instead he went all out to attack Janet Mefferd and defend his character generally.

  32. This Mefferd woman is nasty. She posted the following on Twitter when asked what she’d like to see happen:

    “A fix? Pull book. Properly footnote. Publicly apologize to Jones & pay him royalties. Find new job.”

    Find a new job? She really wants Mark Driscoll to stop preaching the gospel because she doesn’t think he properly footnoted his book? This woman may literally be crazy. Goodness.

  33. Did anyone even notice that Driscoll says that there is a difference between making a mistake and committing a sin about 14 minutes into the show? So, God can make mistakes because that is not sin? Wow, that’s nice to know (sarcasm here)

  34. When there’s blood in the water . . .
    I posted this to Janet Mefford’s Facebook concerning the Driscoll issue:
    “Regarding Mark Driscoll, you quoted the scripture “speaking the truth in love”. What was the condition of your heart when you had Mark Driscoll on your show? Yes, perhaps you were speaking the truth, but were you doing it in love? Honestly, I don’t have a dog in this fight, but it seemed more like an ambush than an interview. You knew ahead of time that you were going to play “gotcha” when you had Mr. Driscoll on, and he was obviously entirely unprepared for this, expecting to address Christian issues that are important to the church. Yes, before you go on about honesty, we AGREE on that, but were you REALLY attempting to “nail him” because, after all, he was on one side of the Strange Fire issue, and you are apparently on the other side. I’m not defending Driscoll’s apparent plagiarism, but don’t you think, that Biblically, before you brought it before the church and the world on your show, you should have brought it up in private between yourself and Mr. Driscoll FIRST, as scripture says, and THEN brought it before the church if he was unresponsive? It seems that you skipped a step here in your eagerness to “correct” or perhaps “condemn” your brother.
    So, were you attempting to correct him or condemn him?
    I’m the author of an online book (free, I’m not selling anything), http://www.thedarwinpapers.com, with hundreds of footnotes, and I know how easy it might have been to have made that kind of mistake. Don’t you at least think you should have had a three way conference beforehand between yourself, Mr. Driscoll and the third party whom you both apparently know, BEFORE pulling this kind of gotcha stunt on your program?
    Sorry, but you were so right that you were wrong,”
    Scripture says ” All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2Tim 3:16-17
    I read “fore doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”; I don’t see the word condemn anywhere.
    “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” Galatians 5:15

  35. Mark Driscoll wrote a public book, which he requested to discuss publicly on a public radio show. In preparation for discussing his book, the host read the manuscript in question, recognized material that she was well acquainted with, and therefore, plainly asked Mr. Driscoll, the author, about it. The fact that direct questions, asked reasonably and calmly, with the expectation of honest, straightforward answers are seen as an “attack” or “unloving” is a sad commentary on the state of the Church today.

  36. If I did what he did on an academic paper I would fail. So because he is well known and you all obviously love him he gets a pass? The world doesn’t work that way. And for the record, I think she was straightforward and fair, she simply didn’t back down when he tried to down play the issue. Good for her. Shame on Driscoll.

  37. It’s become clear to me after reviewing this (and a number of other complaints against Driscoll, posted online), that there are a large number of people who are simply digging for dirt, “out to get” Pastor Driscoll for whatever reason, but apparently motivated by personal animosity of some sort. (I rather suspect that the outspoken way in which he has presented his teaching has grated on people who may not agree with a particular position he holds.)

    Mefferd’s attack seems to fall into this camp. She certainly didn’t exercise professional journalistic integrity or courtesy in the way she leveled it, as far as I can tell.

    Yes, teachers are held to a higher standard of responsibility for both the biblical accuracy and truth of what they present, and standard ethical norms related to things like avoiding plagiarism. So the questions are certainly worth asking. But there seems to be a point at which it becomes clear that the investigator may have a chip on his or her shoulder.

    • Jonathan Merritt

      Larry,

      I’m curious. What evidence do you have that everyone is just out to get Mark driscoll because his preaching is too strong for them? Just going with your gut there?

      And what principles of journalistic integrity are your referring to specifically?

      Jm

    • I’ve noticed the exact same thing. It’s like people are anxiously waiting for a little dirt to throw, almost giddy at the prospects. When there isn’t an actual controversy one will be created. It’s sad to see things like grace, love, and being slow to accuse/ condemn, lost among so many Christians under the guise of discernment. Brothers fighting brothers…the family loses.

  38. It appears a lot of folks are defending their hero rather than standing for ethics and integrity. I listened to the entire show and Mefferd was NEVER rude at all. In fact, she was nice, cordial, but yet stayed on the topic which he was always evading and getting agitated about. He was the person who was RUDE, and HE did hang up. I never heard one peep about still being there, and if he even did, he then hung up! I don’t believe he did because it did not come across on her program airing at all, so where did you guys get that statement? Driscoll did plagiarize, no matter what any one states, even if Jones doesn’t care and let’s him off, the man did plagiarize. If you can’t see that you are spiritually blind. If Mark Driscoll doesn’t repent and publically do so he is off my list as any creditable minister in the Acts29 movement! Someone has to police these guys who have no accountability to anyone except their own self and a few hired lackeys!

  39. I have an idea. How about we focus on Jesus and making him known instead of the constant vitriol for or against Mark Driscoll. That would be a novel idea. For those might say this issue is of some level of great importance, since the publisher of the book noted that proper credit was given and that if further credit is needed for that particular section that such a thing will be looked into and taken care of, is that not enough? Why the attempt to turn the conversation into an immediate mudslinging contest? What is the purpose of conducting an interview in that manner? Why not ask about how the book is focused on connecting the church to our mission and the merits of it in that vein?

    I guess it is because people are more interested in trying to find the latest thing wrong with someone so they can pick them apart like rabid wolves rather than focusing our efforts again on knowing Jesus and making Him known. I find the entire conversation rather petty and pathetic to be quite honest. I think our time is better served with other pursuits. This is presented as someone who is not a Driscoll worshiper but who does appreciate his attempt to at least be on the front lines fighting the good fight. That is more than most believers do these days I might add.

  40. Wonder…does this make sense to anyone else? http://tallskinnykiwi.com/i-think-mark-driscoll-is-innocent-of-plagiarism/. Also, when the shoe is on the other foot, and it’s not Mark Driscoll but a Rachel Held Evans, or Brain Maclaren type, will the wartburg watch types go after them with the same gusto? Or is it just the reformed guys?

  41. Actually, this whole thing is a false accusation. I purchased the two books so I could see for myself. For one thing, there are no footnotes at all in Dr. Peter Jones’ book, Gospel Truth, Pagan Lies. We have no idea who or what has influenced his thinking. The only think I could find was on his website where he credits Francis Schaeffer with having a huge influence on him at one point in his life.

    OTOH, A Call to Resurgence is filled with footnotes, an extensive bibliography, and acknowledgement given to those who helped put the book together.

    The part in question is only 14 pages of I think over 200. I have the e book version. So, we are talking about maybe 5-6% of the book. Driscoll’s book does credit Dr. Jones’ work at The Truth Exchange. He does mention that his ideas on that part of the book were influenced by Dr. Jones. I doubt that Pastor Mark has even seen the book, Gospel Truth, Pagan Lies. He got the Jones ideas from direct conversations with him, as he explained to Janet Mefferd in the interview she did with him.
    As far as the other accusations go – that there are 4 books where there is evidence of plagiarism – I have no way to judge them. What we are being shown are screen shots, nothing more. Until and unless I can lay my hands on the booklets themselves, I will not continue to allow myself to be manipulated by those who wish to control the flow of information. So, IMO, those “screen shot” accusations are irrelevant. If they help to prove anything it is that Janet Mefferd’s goal is to tarnish Mark Driscoll’s reputation and force him out of the ministry.

    Now, Pastor Mark has many things that people can criticize. If that is what people want to do, then they can certainly spend time doing that.

    If people do not like Driscoll, then that is fine. However, I hate it when people are falsely accused by the media. There is nothing righteous about that sort of thing. The ends do not justify the means.

    Now, Janet does a good job a lot of the time. I’m afraid that on this, she gets an “F.”

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  1. […] I found this interesting, if not a little disturbing. Pardon me if the subject has been posted already. Pastor Jerrold H. Lewis. (Dipl. IT; Assc. A; B.Th; M.Th Candidate, PRTS) Pompton Plains NJ, Free Reformed Church "A hot iron, though blunt, will pierce sooner than a cold one, though sharper." JOHN FLAVEL Free Reformed Church of Pompton Plains HERE The Puritans on Google+ Reply With Quote […]

  2. […] When she asked Pastor Driscoll about his apparent plagiarism, he responded that, although he borrowed “big ideas” from Jones, the writing was his own, and that he felt he properly credited Jones in the book.  When Mefferd  continued to press, Driscoll offered the following apology, according to a post from blogger Jonathan Merritt: […]

  3. […] For those of you unfamiliar with the hullabaloo, Tyndale House recently released A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Funeral or a Future? by Mark Driscoll, the ever-controversial pastor of Mars Hill Church, Seattle.  Evidently, a good chunk of the book bears a strong resemblance to the work of Peter Jones, scholar-in-residence at Westminster Seminary California and the director of truthXchange, a think tank dedicated to helping evangelicals “recognize and effectively respond to the rising tide of neopaganism.”*  Jones and Driscoll are also close friends, and Driscoll consistently credits Jones with teaching him a great deal–apparently not in A Call to Resurgence, however.  Evidently, Driscoll gives one citation for fourteen pages of information drawn from Jones’ work.  In an interview ostensibly scheduled to discuss the content of the book, Janet Mefferd confronted Driscoll on her nationally syndicated radio talk show, accusing him of plagiarism and a lack of integrity.  (You can listen to the interview here and read about the debate over whether or not Driscoll hung up on Mefferd here.) […]

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