Mega-church pastor is mum in the face of four allegations of plagiarism in two books. (Image courtesy of Mars Hill Church - http://bit.ly/1hiOwlt)

Mega-church pastor faces at least four allegations of plagiarism involving two of his books. (Image courtesy of Mars Hill Church – http://bit.ly/1hiOwlt)

Syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd sent shockwaves throughout social media when she accused megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism in a heated on-air exchange last week. In the last two days, however, Mefferd has turned up the heat with additional allegations. On Tuesday, she posted photocopied evidence that Driscoll borrowed material — this time, word for word — in another of his books, “Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1&2 Peter. As Mefferd’s evidence demonstrates, Driscoll published several sections from D.A. Carson’s “New Bible Commentary” without proper citation.

Mefferd struck again on Wednesday, providing two additional allegations of plagiarism— both taken word-for-word from Carson’s “New Bible Commentary” and published in Driscoll’s book on 1&2 Peter. Carson has said that preachers who plagiarize are “stealing” and “deceiving.” Requests for a comment sent to the office of D.A. Carson were not immediately returned.

Last week, Mefferd claimed Driscoll plagiarized Dr. Peter Jones for at least 14 pages in his book, “A Call to Resurgence. She has since released documentation in an effort to support these claims.

I contacted  Jones’ ministry, TruthXchange, for a public statement. Joshua Gielow, Jones’s assistant, has offered the following response:

Dr. Jones wants to express his appreciation for the balanced article on this matter published at Religion News Service. At this time, Dr. Jones and TruthXchange will not be making public statements, but we do pray for reconciliation among all parties involved.

Regarding “A Call to Resurgence,” the book’s publisher, Tyndale House, released a statement last week defending Driscoll, expressing dissatisfaction with Mefferd’s “belligerent tone”, and vowing to investigate the matter. Today, they sent the following statement to RNS:

Tyndale House takes any accusation of plagiarism seriously and has therefore conducted a thorough in-house review of the original material and sources provided by the author. After this review we feel confident that the content in question has been properly cited in the printed book and conforms to market standards.

According to Brad Greenberg, Intellectual Property Fellow at Columbia Law School, the first allegation is far less serious than the newer ones insofar as the law is concerned. Copyright laws protect expression — the exact ordering of words — not the idea, Greenberg told me.

“The passages that Mefferd has identified appear to be copied almost verbatim from the Carson New Bible Commentary. Merely changing a few words, such as ‘unschooled’ to ‘uneducated’, is likely not enough to skirt liability for copyright infringement,” Greenberg said. “The only relevant defense that I could see Driscoll having is independent creation–that is, he wrote this passage completely independent of the Carson text, and the striking similarity is mere coincidence. That, of course, is exceptionally unlikely because the Carson text was far from obscure and, in fact, was later cited by Driscoll.”

Mefferd has provided side-by-side photocopied comparisons of the material on her website.

Mefferd has provided side-by-side photocopied comparisons of the material on her website.

Mefferd told me it is disconcerting to her regardless of the legal implications: “I think word-for-word plagiarism is always very serious. Mark Driscoll plagiarized a man word-for-word providing more evidence that he hasn’t followed his own sermons and admonitions to not steal.”

Driscoll has been outspoken on the issue of stealing intellectual property. The FAQ section on the Mars Hill Church website warns against stealing Driscoll’s intellectual property, and he penned a November 23 article on lying that stated, “pastors are notorious for ‘borrowing’ material. All of us are guilty of deception to some degree. Its prevalence, however, does not change the fact that deception is a demonic, satanic issue.” In his book, “Vintage Church,” Driscoll argued that pastors who plagiarize should quit their jobs.

Mefferd says this has sweeping implications for Driscoll’s ministry because the Bible is “very clear that a pastor should be above reproach.” When asked if she believes Driscoll is now no longer above reproach and therefore unfit for the role of pastor, Mefferd replied, “That would be my opinion.”

Mars Hill Church Communications Manager Justin Dean, did not respond to emails, phone calls, and text messages. Driscoll has not acknowledged the matter on either his blog or social media accounts.

As to whether she has more allegations to make and more evidence to present in the coming days, Mefferd told me, “I think it is entirely likely that more will come to light.”

**RELATED: See my original column on this story for full context: “Mark Driscoll accused of plagiarism by radio host”**

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

**UPDATE: I received the following email from Daniel Ahn, assistant to D.A. Carson: “Thank you for your email of 27 November.

I apologize for taking so long to respond back to your email. Dr. Carson was out of the country last week and just returned. At the moment, Dr. Carson does not want to comment on these accusations of plagiarism against Mark Driscoll. “**

**UPDATE: Today, Mefferd deleted all the content on her site alleging plagiarism and apologized to her radio audience saying she should have approached Tyndale House Publishers first: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2013/12/04/janet-mefferd-removes-evidence-relating-to-charges-of-plagiarism-against-mark-driscoll-apologizes-to-audience/**

**UPDATE: CT reports, “While most commentators have connected IVP’s 1 Peter chapter to Carson, it was actually written by David H. Wheaton, a vicar in London.”**

143 Comments

  1. I wonder if part of what has caused this issue is that Mark seems to outsource a good deal of his research. (See http://www.docentgroup.com/pastor_stories for some comments from him on it). The more people who are involved in research, the more chances there are for sources to be lost or miscommunicated.

    • David Lloyd-Jones

      Joanna,

      You can’t outsource research any more than you can outsource eating.

      You’ve eaten, or you haven’t eaten. You’ve studied something or you haven’t studied it. If you’ve paid somebody else to study something, then somebody else may or may not have studied it. This was already true before you paid your current person.

      If you steal some material that somebody else has written, and sign your name to it, that’s plagiarism. You owe the writer money, and you owe your audience an apology.

      Do you understand it now?

      -dlj.

      • You are exactly right. Our pastor was preaching almost exactly word for word the sermons of Andy Stanley with no acknowledgement whatsoever. It was completely presented as his own material. A congregant went online and found these were Stanley’s broadcast sermons almost word for word, down even to the hand gestures. This went on for months. When confronted by the elders, he said the material was published and was given freely and there was nothing wrong with it. This was a serious sin and did much damage to our congregation.

  2. Jonathan,

    Thank you for keeping up with this. It’s disappointing, but hardly surprising that the guy who thinks he’s smarter than St. Athanasius (see pp 27-38 of Doctrine) would have any qualms about appropriating the work of others.

    • There’s no doubt that plagiarism has occurred, the question is whether it’s because of sloppiness or intentional literary theft. I believe it’s the former 1) because of his use of Docent. The notes people receive from them do not always document specific sources in an academically rigorous way, and because 2) the people whose words he copied travel in Driscoll’s circles and Driscoll’s ilk would be expected to read guys like Carson and Jones. It’s highly unlikely that he would intentionally directly copy from their work when he would know that it would be spotted so quickly.

      Lastly Kamilla, I looked up the reference to his Doctrine book you provided. It’s his unit on the Trinity. I can’t see how you could say that that section reflects Driscoll thinking he’s “smarter than St. Athanasius.” Any part you specifically had in mind? If not, it would seem that your remark is unnecessarily inflammatory (especially regarding a guy who needs no help in that department!).

      • Joseph,

        I’m sorry, I didn’t see your comment until just now. There is a typo which may have created some confusion. It should be just pp.27-28, the discussion of the word “begotten” in the creed.

        Driscoll doesn’t have the authority, consequently he lacks the wisdom, to question the Creed in the manner he engages in that section. I stand by my assessment.

  3. I was speaking at a big college conference once, and one of the students came up afterwards and asked me if I loved listening to the podcasts of “Pastor X” (not Pastor Mark), a well known and influential pastor. I said I had never heard any of his sermons. She was skeptical, because I had used a word-for-word example he had used in one of his sermons.

    I picked up one of my books and showed her that it was Pastor X quoting from me, not the other way around. I laughed and told her, “Go home and ask Pastor X if he’s heard of me!”

    I did find the sermon online, and it was basically word for word from the book. I fear this happens regularly, when pastors are expected to come up with new and compelling content weekly (or more often). I’m sure it’s often unintentional, but bringing some scholastic rigor to the pulpit could only be a good thing.

    I appreciate you taking pains to keep this all balanced and fair, Jonathan, and I pray resolution, clarity, apologies and restitution where needed all come in quick order.

    • While I would certainly agree that rigor is definitely important, even the pulpit, and while it is still certainly lazy and/or unethical to take word for word examples from someone else without at least mentioning where the material is taken from, doing so in a sermon is, on the face of it, less objectionable to doing so in print. The former may be rush job, or a last hour mistake, or a confusion as to how to cite it. The latter goes through a long editing process and has very standard citation form, and so, in my book (pun totally intended), is worse.

      • I have no issue with that, Trey. The way I figure it, the best choice for me personally is usually to extend the benefit of the doubt and move on. I know for sure that Pastor X and I want the same thing: for people to come closer to Jesus. I don’t really need a shout out in the process, honestly.

        That’s not to downplay the seriousness of plagiarism in any way, just to say that I don’t get too worried if people plagiarize my thoughts about Jesus. Widen the audience all you want, I say. :)

      • You are wrong. This is a spiritual issue. The pastor should be spending hours of study and prep time for his sermons. The Holy Spirit should be guiding him as to what is needed for the congregation. It is not more serious to have done it in print. It is just as serious a sin either way. Plagarizing sermons leaves no room for the work of the Holy Spirit in the church’s life. The pastor is stealing from the one he copies just as surely as if he stole that person’s wallet.

  4. Joanna, there are now four total allegations of plagiarisim, covering at at least 18 pages in two of Driscoll’s books and two of another guy’s books where it was alleged Driscoll lifted the work from. Some incidents are word for word. An accident? Like, oops, these exact words from another guy’s book fell out of his book and landed in Driscoll’s? At some point the benefit of the doubt becomes absurd and we just have to call it a duck.

  5. Daniel Berry, NYC

    When you’re as big a star as a megachurch pastor you don’t have to worry about things like proper citation of how it looks for a follower of Jesus to wear $4,000 suits. Those considerations are only for us little people.

  6. “Like, oops, these exact words from another guy’s book fell out of his book and landed in Driscoll’s?”

    Well, there was this one guy that when he threw a bunch of gold into the fire a golden calf came out. Just saying. It could happen.

  7. How funny that Peter Jones has suddenly lost his appetite for casting moral judgments. Every day of the year he condemns vast swaths of the globe, entire cultures, various groups comprising millions of people, based on nothing more than a sneer and some generalities. He is particularly obsessed with gays and environmentalists. But plagiarists and liars? Not so much.

    • Good points Victor. I was reading over the allegedly plagiarized work comparisons Janet Mefford scanned and couldn’t help getting side-tracked by how awful Peter Jone’s scholarship was (mind you, it was only sections, so he may have explained it better in the real book). First Nations and Ancient Hinduism couldn’t be more different, yet he lumps them into the same corner. That would be like a news reporter telling an unchurched, and largely ignorant audience that the The Gospel Coalition and Joel Osteen are interchangeable, and going to one is equivalent to going to the other. To outsiders, they probably would agree it is all the same, but to those who know better, that would be a very glaring error.

  8. Scott Nichols

    Check out Driscoll’s sermons on Esther. Heavy reliance on Karen Kobe ‘s commentary. He says it only takes two hours a week to prepare his messages, now I know why.

  9. Well it seems the Peter Jones accusations were simply untrue. Driscoll cited Jones for coming up with the terms “one-ism” and “two-ism” and the rest is not word-for-word transposition. Driscoll was simply writing history so of course the events being accounted for will be the same regardless of author.

    As for these new accusations, Mefferd is grasping at straws. Driscoll is NOT even the author of the pamphlet that accompanied his 1 & 2 Peter series. I remember when this took place back in 2008. It was a study guide meant to accompany a series with many different contributors and editors.

    • The section in Driscoll’s book Trials that has the word-for-word stuff from the New Bible Commentary is in the Introduction. I own both in electronic form here’s what it says:

      8 WITNESSES FROM 1 & 2 PETER
      INTRODUCTION
      BY PASTOR MARK DRISCOLL

      So the introduction of the study guide, which explicitly states is by Mark Driscoll isn’t proof?

      He may not have authored the rest of the study guide, but he’s clearly labelled as the author of the section she found the problem material.

    • Paul, you need to look up the definition of plagiarism. It doesn’t have to be word for word, and ALL “borrowing” needs to be cited (the law). He did say he was using Jones’ ideas (from dinner conversations?) at the beginning, but he went on to lift 14 pages of Tony Jones’ work with no citations. I read through them, he is not reiterating history at all. Jones randomly selected global movements and critiqued them. Driscoll then, coincidentally, selects the exact same movements and says the same thing as Carson does.

      The PDF says Mark Driscoll is the author. Go to Janet Mefford’s site and look at her downloads and links. It is also copy writed work, so the publishers can get sued too.

  10. I agree with Mark on the tribes statement. She also didn’t intend to confront him in a loving matter. It kind of reminds me of the prostitute in the bible where the men and women were making accusations and intended to destroy her in public by throwing a rock to stone her to death. Jesus turned to them and said, “let the first one without sin throw the rock”. If she didn’t intend to try and destroy him then why do this so openly and aggressively. What a complete disappointment on her part to make this into a controversy instead of sharing the love of Jesus. Mark is smarter than that and his intentions are always out of the love of Sharing Jesus.

    • Marc
      You either did not listen to the conversation between Janet and Driscoll or you are a blind follower. Driscoll was manipulative, defensive, rude, anything but humble and open to correction. He used wordy christian speak to throw the attention off of himself when it did not work he hung up without saying goodbye. On the other side Janet remained calm, polite, with dignity and strength under control.

      • Joe Mark said more than a few times that if he is wrong then he will contact the author to make it right and also apologized. So I am confused and wonder if you even heard it correctly. I find it rediculous and believe she did it out of wrong intentions. You obviously don’t know Driscoll. Anyone out of common sense in his role wouldn’t write a book and think to copy another author without getting caught. That is just foolish and that is not his character. Janet on the other hand, did this for the shock factor and you will see that this whole controversy will be put to rest. You don’t have the raw footage to even know he hung up. I am sure he was dissconnected from her show to make it look as if he did. Janet was in many ways was wrong and you will just have to sit back and see for yourself.

      • Joe,
        Here’s the raw audio of the conversation so you can see that Driscoll didn’t hang up abruptly. http://audiour.com/playlist/3lewj0or

        …In case you want to change your response to something not completely wrong.

    • “She also didn’t intend to confront him in a loving matter.”

      “Mark is smarter than that and his intentions are always out of the love of Sharing Jesus.”

      Amazing that you claim to know with such certainty what both of their intentions are. And that Janet’s are wrong, and Mark’s right.

  11. You don’t even need to look carefully to see that the 1 and 2 Peter book is directly lifted from Carson. It is egregious, word-for-word copying, and Driscoll (or whomever wrote that book/pamphlet) cites Eusebius and Tertullian as if he were looking at their works directly and not via Carson, but does not cite Carson in that section.

    I would give a zero to a student handing in a paper with this copying. No question in my mind.

  12. Marcus Johnson

    Not to defend Driscoll by any means, but if I was one of the authors from whom he plagiarized, I would be trying to distance myself from anything he said, for my own authorial credibility. I certainly wouldn’t want someone to say of anything I wrote, “Wow, Mark Driscoll found that really useful in his sermons,” regardless of whether he quoted me or not.

  13. As with the previous article in this developing story, well balanced and approached fairly. That is all Mefferd, Driscoll, or any of the other parties involved could possibly ask. Bravo Jonathan!

    The original issue brought up by Mefferd in her interview last week with Driscoll seems to be small (as many of us thought) especially when compared to the new problems being brought to light. Some have suggested that outsourced research improperly cited by others may have found its way into the finished product in Driscoll’s books. Such sloppiness, while difficult to excuse, is forgivable but something substantiating it needs to be released soon. If it turns out that Driscoll is personally responsible for the research, his problem may just be beginning.

    It is interesting that no one is talking about Driscoll supposedly hanging up on Mefferd any longer. I still believe that was a simple, unfortunate misunderstanding but I bring it up because a week ago many were clinging to that as their basis for supporting Driscoll. Attacking Mefferd as a way of defending Driscoll is misguided at best. The benefit of the doubt is drying up for Driscoll fast. The weaker allegation of plagiarism from Dr. Jones’ earlier books is made stronger by the new allegations. From here even the most objective person is left wondering why there has been no response from Driscoll.

    Clearly this is not much ado about nothing as I and others had hoped. In fact, much is at stake in this controversy including the very credibility of Driscoll’s ministry is in question. Fair people are patient and will wait for a period of time to hear a response from Driscoll but patience wears thin. I remain hopeful that there is some reasonable explanation for the issues pointed out by Mefferd. I also now have serious doubts.

    • Christoper Sanchez: “In fact, much is at stake in this controversy including the very credibility of Driscoll’s ministry.”

      His credibility has been at stake for far worse offenses than this alleged serial plagiarism, and yet he has gotten away with them all. If the Gospel Coalition, Acts29, T4G, Albert Mohler, John Piper, Gary Brashears, Adrian Warnock, and all the other players and big-whigs in neo-Calvinist Christendom gave him a pass on all of his previous egregious and abusive behavior unbecoming of a minister of the Gospel, they will probably wink at these new perceived indiscretions by the angry mega-manly-man.

  14. We have here a radio talk show celebrity who is trying to advance her career by accusing Mark Driscoll of plagiarism. She thinks that this will remove him from the pastorate and the public scene. It works for politicians and academics, why won’t it work for a celebrity pastor?

    Her case is extremely weak so far. Since Tyndale does not side with her against Mark, she is now on a tear against Tyndale. The other examples seem to be more mistakes than deliberate theft. If I got it correct, one of them was where the footnote that was there was misplaced, covering only half or so of the quote. Seriously? That’s plagiarism? Besides, she is using some standard that uptight academics use on their students to keep them from having original ideas, it seems to me. Have you ever read an academic paper? Does she think that all of us live, or want to live, in academia?

    I’m sure she will keep looking for examples, because the righteousness of her cause demands it. She should go ahead and keep trying. Knock herself out. Her listeners love it.

    I wish she would leave God out of it, though. This is a career move on her part. Maybe she will be able to make her case and force Pastor Mark out. Maybe Mark will finally self destruct, as he seems determined to do anyway.

    And a lot of us will watch the train wreck in horror. This is great entertainment. And, yes, I am a bad Christian for watching.

    • I agree overall. I can’t judge Mefferd’s intentions, but what she is digging up is absurd. She pulls from a study that the church wrote for their community groups is quite far fetch. The Call to Resugence is a popular work not an academic paper. There are different standard in what is expected to be cited. And both books that are mentioned are cited, whether Jones’ or Carson’s work.

      Furthermore, if she is going to be fair, she better start call out a lot more people than Driscoll.

      • She has stated her intentions, so we don’t have to speculate. She may be right, but so far she has not been able to make her case and drive Pastor Mark out of the pastorate – IOW, get another job.

        I think that Mefferd is a good journalist. I also like a lot of what Pastor Mark has to say.

        Again, I am a bad Christian for even caring about this. Why do I care? I have no good reason to care, but somehow I do. I see I”m not the only one. Maybe it’s one of those if one part of the body hurts, we all hurt? Maybe I hurt for both of them and for all of us.

        Or maybe this kind of conflict has become a sort of spectator sport, in lieu of Gladiators, and we watch in horror and glee. It bothers me that it bothers me.

        Maybe I need some turkey and pumpkin pie instead! Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope for better things for them and for us. God bless us, every one.

        • One correction. Ms. Mefferd has stated that she wants Driscoll to find another job. The idea that this is a career move for her is my speculation based on the fact that she is a talk show host who needs listeners, and a journalist who is doing some investigative journalism. That is her career.

          She does try to do it with integrity, but I think it is way too soon for her to make the plagiarism accusation. The evidence she has provided so far just doesn’t meet professional standards. She may be able to make her case, but so far not so much.

      • The section in Driscoll’s book Trials that has the word-for-word stuff from the New Bible Commentary is in the Introduction. I own both in electronic form here’s what it says:

        8 WITNESSES FROM 1 & 2 PETER
        INTRODUCTION
        BY PASTOR MARK DRISCOLL

        So the introduction of the study guide, which explicitly states is by Mark Driscoll isn’t proof?

        He may not have authored the rest of the study guide, but he’s clearly labelled as the author of the section she found the problem material.

    • “This is a career move on her part.”

      I am always impressed by people who claim to know either the mind or the motives of another person. I prefer to delegate that to One who is far above my pay grade.

    • Using even 2-3 words from an author can be considered plagiarism.

      I have my students read Plagiarism.org. It defines plagiarism as follows: “According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, to “plagiarize” means
      to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own
      to use (another’s production) without crediting the source
      to commit literary theft
      to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
      In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else’s work and lying about it afterward” (http://www.plagiarism.org/plagiarism-101/what-is-plagiarism).

      This is a big deal because it is a FRAUD! Why not just give credit to the original authors? It is a big deal to anyone who writes or speaks, whether in academia or on a popular level. As one of Dr. Carson’s former students, I know he wouldn’t put up with this. Students have been dismissed for less.

  15. Just wondering if Janet Mefferd has ever interviewed Rachel Held Evans and asked where she got the idea to do her “biblical womanhood” book. Is it a matter of whose ox is being gored, or are we truly acting without bias or favoritism?

    • David Taylor–do you understand the difference between an idea and the copying nearly word-for-word text that someone else wrote?

      And why are you bringing Rachel Held Evans into this? What does she have to do with Driscoll’s plagiarism?

  16. Whether the allegations that Janet makes against Driscoll are true or not she was out if line calling him out on it in the context that she did so. I can think of many biblical reasons why, but one that really stands out to me is that she did so on air before a listening audience. Is he not a brother in Christ? If her intention was to lovingly confront him about sin, shouldn’t she have done so privately with the underlying motivation of bringing him to repentance? It is clear from listening to the interview that she seems more interested in discrediting a man rather than restoring him. There was no virtue in what she did. On the contrary, it seemed to be under handed…like an unscrupulous detective trying to trap a criminal through interrogation. No matter what that man said she continued to badger him. She was certainly not speaking truth in love or in love giving him the benefit of the doubt.

    • She had no need to do so privately. If you are thinking of Matthew 18, that is only for personal wrongs and not bad doctrine. Bad doctrine is to be addressed publicly if Galatians 2 is any guide.

      Cheers,
      Tim

        • If you’re suggesting that she should have addressed him in order to follow the Golden Rule, then I agree that can often be a better way to bring this type of thing up, Marco.

          Cheers,
          Tim

          • Tim, I’m suggesting that even when we are speaking truth, our method, motive and manner in which we do must be biblical and Spirit led. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1 ESV)

          • And I’m assuming Paul followed his own advice when confronting Peter as he records in Gal 2, although it reads pretty harsh to my eyes. All of this is so hard when dealing with people. (As if there was anyone else to deal with in the family of God!)

            Cheers,
            Tim

          • Tim,
            You said that there was difference between confronting issues of doctrine ( in some cases) and sin. You seemed to be getting them mixed up. I say in some cases because there are times to confront both issues privately and publically. Based on your own logic and understanding she should have confronted his “sins” privately rather than badgering him on the air. What was her goal?

  17. Again thanks Jonathan for excellent coverage here. This situation ain’t pretty. The earlier case of alleged plagiarism which Janet Mefford brought up during her radio show last week pales in comparison to the verbatim duplication described here. I hope that there can be a graceful resolution of this situation, which brings accountability.

  18. I’m not convinced this “scandal” harms Driscoll at all. If anything, it enhances his persona as “the (persecuted) bad boy that Jesus loves,” which has proven extremely marketable over the past 15+ years. Or as he himself puts it, “a nobody telling everybody about somebody.” He was completely “in character” for the whole interview. If the radio host gets a boost from it, then its a win-win. Maybe Mark will get her seat next to John MacArthur at his ReWhatever Conference. Stay tuned for a highly publicized invitation on the internet!

    • Yes, this is two public dust ups close together. His childish actions at the Strange Fire conference (actually more than childish) and now this. At least he has finally moved beyond using curse words from the pulpit. Humble? Truthful? False teacher? In need of correction? Lot’s of questions here about just where this man is. Also, isn’t a defense of his “bad boy” actions that it’s OK because he has a big church in a city that isn’t, well, “churched” ,getting a little stale?

      • Well, I was bored with it when I first encountered it six or seven years ago. But that doesn’t mean that the niche for his schtick is shrinking. On the other hand, one worries what it is doing to his own soul.

  19. I’m with Marco David, it was completely underhanded what she did towards Driscoll on the radio show. Put him on the spot and basically called him out as a liar and deceiver in front of her audience, when he was unprepared and didn’t have any ability to check her facts and defend himself. And she didn’t let up… she was nailing him from every angle she could (Strange Fire conference, accusations of plagiarism, etc.) under the guise of “truth”.

    I did my homework on this subject and have concluded that just because he didn’t footnote to the standard that some are imposing on him, does not mean Driscoll plagiarized. His book is not reference work, it’s more like a letter to a church. He’s never tried to hide where this particular material came from, and even volunteered his friend Dr. Jones as the source before he was even asked in the Janet Mefferd interview. He’s not taking credit for the work, period. Let’s call off the witch hunt, at least with this issue.

  20. Unless someone like Piper is willing to push Driscoll on this, I doubt anything will come of it. Women are held in such low esteem in evangelicalism that even with her black and white evidence of plagiarism, Mefferd’s gender makes her automatically lack credibility to the audience she is trying to convince.

    • KatR–yes, I agree with you. You can see from some of the comments that already Mefferd’s being questioned as if she is the guilty one rather than Driscoll! Unbelievable!

  21. I spoke with Dr. Peter Jones in 2009 about him holding a conference together with Mark Driscoll. During that time, Driscoll spoke publicly in the conference about learning so much from Jones. He preached at that conference on One-ism/Two-ism. Those ideas also subsequently showed up in his blogs and teachings back in 2009. Jones was thrilled to have Driscoll endorsing his stuff.

    This Mefferd lady obviously does not know the history. She is merely pulling a situation out of context and trying to cause a stir. She did not have to call him out on the radio publicly. That is not the Matthew 18 model of correcting a brother. She was way out of line.

  22. I attend a small church of approximately 150 so we only have one minister. When he is on annual leave I am called upon to preach. As I’m not full time nor university trained I usually use a sermon that I’ve heard at a conference or read in a commentary. Before preaching I acknowledge to the congregation that the thoughts are not my own and that it’s bases upon a sermon preached by another. Is this considered theft or fair use?

  23. Janet was wrong. I do think that the issues should be addressed and publically commented on. What got me about the interview was Janet would not let up. Mark Driscoll repeatedly said he would look into it. He’s a public person. He would have to have some sort of response after that. Janet would not move on. Kept pressing. There’s a point where it is rude and aggressive. Janet went there. I just listened to it today – the full recording (and the after diatribe by Janet…sad) (and, yes, the additional tape that proved Mark was still there). All I could think of is that Janet had an agenda and was not doing being gracious in letting Mark in on it – going for the “wow” factor of calling him out in public. I heard Janet’s defense of this – he’s a public character, it’s a public work. To that I say – whatever – it just serves Janet’s purpose – nothing more.

    If there’s truly something to call to light here – there’s a better way to do it. Everything I see since this started is nothing but witch hunt and unChrist-like behavior on Janet’s part. There’s even accusation on how Mark responded – that he was condescending (didn’t hear it) and rude (again, not there). I did hear frustration as he addressed what Janet said and Janet kept going like some rabid animal that had some meaty morsel. Shameful.

  24. Linda Mae Baldwin

    I wonder why she hates him so much? Such venom. Jealousy? Regardless when God uses someone to reach the lost, it’s inevitable the minions will start slithering to attack..shameful…

  25. Amazingly snide comments made here by people who have little first hand knowledge of Driscoll. Christian showing grace… I guess that is not to be expected. Instead, let’s jump on a guy we really don’t think we like anyway. Depressing.

  26. There is a job opening at Mars Hill Church, Staff Writer. http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8ad64ec641adc69a0141cdc8ed0d1b3d&source=Indeed&source=Indeed

  27. I think that what this story reveals is that the Driscoll’s do not write as much of their books as they would like their readers to believe. Transcribing page after page of copyrighted popular material and passing it off as your own is likely to be the result of very sloppy scholarship handed to him by others.
    Or hubris.
    I am reminded of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s plagiarism “scandal” in 2002. When it was brought to her attention she confessed to sloppy scholarship, apologized, made amends and accepted a rap on her reputation. Perhaps Driscoll would be able to do this- except that he himself set a higher standard with his own warnings on Mars Hill copyrighted material. Be interesting to see how he explains this.

    • No one is talking about it. This exact disappearing act happened with Driscoll’s SOS Sermon from Scotland. Macarthur’s is the only content that wasn’t altered- the audio, links, and most blog posts about it disappeared. You can see why, Driscoll told wives of unsaved husbands that Jesus commands they to perform oral sex on their husbands to win them for the gospel. http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/files/driscoll-scotland-sermon-copypdf.pdf

  28. I hope that Tyndale isn’t threatening people like Janet or yourself, who post all of this (important) information online. It deserves to be made known, it seems to me, and Mark Driscoll has the freedom to respond.

  29. Mark Obenauer

    Pastors do borrow each other’s material. I know because I have friends who are pastors. They ask each other if it is ok to borrow each other’s material. But who would want to borrow Mr. Driscoll’s material, whose movement is under intense scrutiny? Matthew 7:1 would be a more apt sermon dealing with the Mark Driscoll tragedy. And no one wants to emulate a tragedy.

  30. It may also be interesting to look at why the blog buddies of Driscoll have gone silent and taken to censoring comments or inquiries about Driscoll.

  31. David Lloyd-Jones

    I visited a wealthy Toronto synagogue a few years ago, where the dvar Torah, the lay commentary on what Scripture means to you or me in daily life, was given by a wealthy and accomplished dentist.

    His delivery was polished and intelligent, but by partner spotted the text: it was an article by a distinguished Rabbi of Viennese extration, distinguished enough for a copy to be close to hand. We picked it out — and with some difficulty stopped ourselves from mouthing him word for word as he continued.

    The feat of memorization was impressive.

    Can somebody tell Rev. Driscoll’s staffer, above, that confession and genuine repentance are prerequisites for reconciliation?

    -dlj.

  32. David Reimer

    It ought to be noted somewhere that Driscoll’s Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter did not plagiarize D. A. Carson’s words. Carson was one of four editors for the volume, the others being R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, and G. J. Weham. (It looks like they were arranged alphabetically.)

    The words lifted come from the 1 Peter contributor, David Wheaton. It’s Wheaton’s words that the Driscoll book plagiarizes.

    (Pedantry in the cause of transparency.)

  33. Sarah Liguori

    God can use all situations for his good. It will be interesting to see how he uses everyone involved including us who reply to grow His kingdom. This comment section made me stop and double check my own heart and judgements!

  34. I am a newbie, but glad to toss my two cents. As an experienced minister, my view of this matter is quite simple. The minister in question has a history of having a standard by which he holds others, but does not apply to himself. When the reporter tried to hold him accountable, she was labelled as un-Christlike. Driscoll has spoken on and written on this topic and understands the issue, so please hold him to a higher standard. The only reason he is being protected by the publisher is because his books sell. Do not be naive and acknowledge the elephant in the room.

  35. Simon Mawdsley

    Storm in a tea cup! Preachers/pastors should freely allow any of their material to be quoted, shared without permission or citation. There should be no copyright to God’s Word in whatever form, or insights on it. Most every preacher uses other people’s material, often without citation. ‘Someone once said’ is heard regularly. Even if the preacher doesn’t say it’s a quote, so what? We’re all brothers and sisters and should be willing for others to use our stuff without recognition. If they make it their own, so what? Truth belongs to no-one but God! Seems a lot of this is taking opportunity to shoot down a celebrity pastor. The whole idea of Driscoll’s empire sickens me and the fat salaries that go with it, but that’s an issue between him and the Lord. Meanwhile, truth in any form belongs only to God. If anyone plagiarises me and doesn’t cite me, who cares? To God be the glory! Stop academicizing God’s truth. This isn’t the world it’s God’s family. He alone owns the copyright!

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  1. […] Additionally, to thicken the plot, Jonathan Merritt has reported that Mefford has shown indisputable proof that this was not a one time thing for Driscoll. Specifically, Mefford shows that two entire pages from Driscoll’s book on 1&2 Peter were taken word-for-word from a commentary by D.A. Carson, also without attribution. You can find that story here. […]

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