Mark Driscoll's Mars Hill Church blames research team for citation errors in book. (Image courtesy of Mars Hill Church - http://bit.ly/1bsBWeG)

Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church blames research team for citation errors in book. (Image courtesy of Mars Hill Church – http://bit.ly/1bsBWeG)

**UPDATE: Document reveals that Justin Holcomb, Driscoll’s research assistant, produced the “Trial” chapter attributed to him. The language in this post was updated from “borrowed” to “quoted” because it appears that Holcomb’s original research delivered to Mars Hill was cited.**

**UPDATE: Logos has removed the “Trial” book from their online inventory at the request of Mars Hill Church. A representative for Logos told me that approximately 23 copies have been sold this year and royalties were paid according to their agreement.**

**UPDATE: Mars Hill Church has removed the phrase “and was never sold” from the statement on their website.**

**UPDATE: The following statement was sent to me from Todd Starowitz of Tyndale House Publishers regarding the reported “media relationship” with Salem Communications:

I think there is a misperception about the term “media partnership” when it comes to Salem and Tyndale. It simply means that Tyndale advertises on SRN. We have in the past and we expect to continue to do so. The quote from Aprel Mabson (Tyndale’s advertising and promotions coordinator) on the Salem site is nothing more than a testimonial about the positive relationship that Tyndale has had advertising on Salem shows.

Also, you haven’t reported on it, but there has also been some inaccuracies floating around about Tyndale and its ownership. Tyndale is operated by the Tyndale House Foundation. In 2001 Ken and Margaret Taylor transferred ownership of Tyndale House Publishers to the Foundation. As a result, 96.5 percent of the dividends from the profitable operations of the company also now flow to the Foundation. More information about the Foundation and its mission may be found at www.tyndalehousefdn.org.**

ORIGINAL COLUMN:

Mars Hill Church has released a statement regarding plagiarism allegations against pastor Mark Driscoll. “Religion News Service” reported on the initial charges of plagiarism brought to light by syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd. We also reported on additional allegations, Mefferd’s apology, and the resignation of Mefferd’s assistant producer. The Driscoll PR team, led by Communications Manager Justin Dean, has stayed mum throughout the ordeal, failing to return emails, phone calls, and text messages from RNS.

The Mars Hill statement was first discovered by Warren Throckmorton at “Patheos.” It is difficult to find, buried in the “Downloads” section of the “Trial” sermon series page. The statement only address charges that plagiarized material appeared in a booklet on I&II Peter published by Mars Hill Church. It admits “citation errors” but blames a research team for the errors, which are located in a chapter naming Driscoll as author:

In 2009, Pastor Mark preached through 1 & 2 Peter in a sermon series called Trial. To help our small groups, a team of people including a research assistant, put together a free study guide that was produced in-house and was never sold. About 5 years later it was brought to our attention that it contained some citation errors. We have discovered that during the editing process, content from other published sources were mistaken for research notes. These sentences were adapted instead of quoted directly. We are grateful this was brought to our attention, and we have removed that document from our website to correct the mistake. Additionally, we are examining all of our similar content as a precautionary measure.

Elsewhere on the Mars Hill web site, Driscoll’s research assistant is named as Justin Holcomb of Docent Research Group. “[Justin] has been humble enough to do a great deal of research for me, which, along with the work of my helpful friend and editing assistant Deacon Crystal Griffin, allows me to produce content at a pace I would never have thought possible…I am now sending out literally thousands of pages of content a year, as well as preaching and teaching hundreds of hours of content a year,” the site states. It is unclear whether Holcomb is the “research assistant” referenced in the statement.

Screenshot of sales page for "Trial."

Screenshot of sales page for “Trial.”

The statement appears to contain at least one incorrect statement. Though Mars Hill claims the book was “never sold,” it is currently on sale by at least one vendor (Logos Bible Software) for $9.95. A screen shot of the sales page is attached.

The statement from Mars Hill comes on the heels of a story published by “Christianity Today” wherein Intervarsity Press, the original publisher of the content in question, claimed there was improper citation in Driscoll’s booklet and expressing their desire for an explanation:

Several paragraphs from the “New Bible Commentary” edited by G. J. Wenham, J. A. Motyer, D. A. Carson and R. T. France published by InterVarsity Press appear in Mark Driscoll’s now out of print book “Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1 & 2 Peter.” These improperly appeared without quotation or attribution. With proper citation the material would have been a case of fair use.

InterVarsity Press believes all writers should use great care as they do research and prepare texts for any use to make sure that proper acknowledgement is given to source material.

In addition to the citations addressed here, there are lingering charges of improperly cited content in Driscoll’s newest book “A Call to Resurgence” published by Tyndale House Publishers. Tyndale defended Driscoll in two statements released to RNS (see here and here). After Mefferd apologized for making allegations regarding this book and removed the evidence from her site, it was discovered that Tyndale House and Salem Radio–Mefferd’s employer–are “media partners.” This raises questions about the motivation for Mefferd’s apology, which befuddled many who’ve watched this story unfold.

DEVELOPING…

158 Comments

  1. The plagiarism issue is a symptom of a larger problem: big business American evangelicalism. When the issue first came up there should have been a reasoned discussion. Mr. Driscoll, a man who has been given pastoral care over thousands, did not do so. That’s the real tragedy, because it’s hurting people.

    • how is it hurting people? i think it is an important discussion to have to rightly clarify an above reproach standard in the Christian community and then move on. This melodramatic self justifying nonsense by people is simply exposing another sin that needs to addressed.

      • You’re right that plagiarism isn’t physically hurting people (except those whose work he is plagiarizing) and this seems like a small issue, HOWEVER it is an issue that EVERYONE understands, including religious and non religious people.

        There are PLENTY of equally alarming issues with Driscoll (error and false teaching, bullying, insulating himself from correction by systematically ousting elders who dare to resist his supposed God-given ‘vision’), but to get one’s mind around them they need a solid understanding of Christian doctrine (including Biblical leadership accountability and ecclesiology) and the right division of law and gospel in Scripture.

    • The only person I see that people are trying to hurt is Driscoll, as you’ve just tried to do. All this for what will apparently turn out to be nothing more than an editorial mistake in the producing of what is little more than an internal study guide.

      There should be a “discussion” of why so many people wanted to jump on the “smear the pastor” band-wagon.

      • If it was indeed a case of just a informally produced and only internally distributed study guide, then yes, this debate would be over the top jumping on bandwagons. However, the study guide was made available to the wider world (both for free download and for sale) and similar issues have been found in a number of his other books.

        • John Carpenter

          Except that “similar issues have [NOT} been found in a number of his other books”. Your statement is a lie. There is not one other instance thus far of a word-for-word duplication of material from another source as anyone whose taken even a little time to consider this situation. Why did you misrepresent it?

          • Benedict Cumberpatch

            Don’t worry about John Carpenter. He trolls sites and slanders anyone who questions the Mars Hill line. He’s a dedicated disciple.

          • John Carpenter, one is sin. Plagiarism is never by accident.
            I enjoy Mark’s teaching. The correct action is for Mark to admit his wrong doing, ask forgiveness, and pause for a time of healing.

          • Expecting people to actually be telling the truth when they make accusations isn’t something that should blow your mind. If it does, then you need to examine yourself as to why being asked to obey the 9th commandment is so mind blowing.

  2. Mark and Mars Hill just keep digging themselves deeper into the deception ditch. No one is silly enough to believe his efforts to blame assistants. He’s passing the buck. He, and Mars Hill, need to stop the deception, own up to the act, and act like Christians.

      • John Carpenter,

        “Editorial mistakes happen”? Really? I guess you haven’t looked at the two books side by side. I have. There are lots of PDFs on the Internet showing the New Bible Commentary compared to Driscoll’s Trial.

        There are full sentences that are identical in the better part of three paragraphs. That’s called plagiarism and copyright violation.

        Before you accuse people of cynicism, you should do some due diligence yourself.

        • John Carpenter

          Actually, it’s two very brief paragraphs in what amounts to little more than an internal study guide. And those editorial mistakes happen. Stop jumping on the “smear the pastor” bandwagon.

          • Even a sentence is enough to constitute copyright violation, John.

            And it doesn’t matter if it was an internal study guide, it was printed and distributed. By definition that is copyright infringement. Go look it up.

            Stop jumping on the “my pastor is perfect even if he’s a thief” wagon.

    • John Carpenter

      Being a Christian means you don’t get to make accusations for which you have no evidence. You’ve implied that Driscoll committed some “misdeeds”. You have no evidence of that. Please retract and apologize for your baseless accusations. Believe it or not, your bearing witness about people actually has to be true. See the 9th commandment (Ex. 20:16).

      • No evidence? There’s lot of evidence. Look at the links in this article.

        Wisdom means being able to say, “I, John Carpenter, like Mark Driscoll as a friend and a pastor, but I think this particular action was very wrong.”

  3. It seems to me that if you pay a researcher/ghost writer, or are in charge to oversee a paid or volunteer team who write materials, and only your name goes on it so you “own” the results, you cannot “disown” the responsibility.

  4. I agree with some of the others Pastor Mark needs to step up and own up to his indescrections and make these things right. I have a lot of respect for Pastor Mark, but it is dwindling by the minute the longer he waits to do anything publicly himself about this.

      • Try selling that line to music publishers the next time a choir director gets caught photocopying music for everyone in the choir rather than paying for sheet music for everyone.

        Public or private, theft is theft.

        • John Carpenter

          You’re assuming that Driscoll intentionally copied the material and that the explanation given above is false. You’ve accused Driscoll of stealing and lying. Either prove it with real evidence or repent of your false accusation. Your bearing witness about people actually has to be true. See the 9th commandment (Ex. 20:16).

          • Benedict Cumberpatch

            John, what is WRONG with you? You say this same nonsense on every blog to anyone who questions Driscoll. Do you even read what you type? You act like a little petulant child.

  5. Something that continues to be “unaddressed” here is Driscoll’s history with Dr. Peter Jones. They did a conference(and book I believe?) on this very topic 2 or 3 years ago. They spoke together, filmed videos together, etc. . Driscoll gave credit then. . and rearticulated many of Jones’ views for himself in those days. Does he have to continue to give credit to someone he has a history of working with (and can be searched on google right now as to the details of that relationship?) Driscoll was hardly trying to be secretive here, or to “steal” anything. Dr. Jones mentored him in these very ideas. He did cite them earlier in the book but did not cite a large portion later in the book. Is this wrong, even by publishing standards? Does “history with the originator” mean nothing? Can Driscoll’s own sermons about Jones’ ideas (as Jones looked on) count for a reproduction? Forgive me if I’m missing the whole thing here about that particular citation issue. The DA Carson issue seems to be a research snafu, as he’s quoting a commentary. Again, ask me if Mark Driscoll is trying to steal things from DA Carson ( a friend who spoke at his church).

      • Right. I guess I”m referring to the original snafu. . .it seems like people were unaware of the history of Driscoll and Jones, and when Mark D. tried to bring that up in the radio interview, people called him defensive.

      • Re: Jones’s Book

        I agree, of what I’ve seen, it doesn’t appear that Driscoll plagierized the Jones material, but in my opinion, he certainly plagiarized from “New Bible Commentary.”

        There are lots of PDFs on the Internet showing the New Bible Commentary compared to Driscoll’s Trial.

        There are full sentences that are identical. That’s called plagiarism and copyright violation.

  6. There’s no indiscretions. . . no deception here. The error is Mark D. and MHC thinking they can bit off a bit more than they can chew, content-wise. They got in over their heads with the amount of content created, and researched. They need to correct that. But, folks who think Mark is trying to hide/steal stuff from HIS FRIENDS is misguided, and frankly, that wouldn’t make any sense.

  7. Interestingly, when the “pastor” of the church I was attending called into question the “heretical” teachings of Frank Viola (!) – he quote extensively from Mark Driscoll – whose “opinions,” upon closer examination, consisted primarily of “research” by his assistants – who themselves quoted extensively from works of Ben Witherington. So much for original thinking.

    • Original content? Very few people have original content these days or any time in the past. There is nothing knew under the sun (even that comment isn’t original). It’s not about original but about communicating it well – take Walt Disney, the greatest idea ‘repackager’ of them all.

  8. I believe this will prove to be the end of the matter and it will support what I’ve believed is the real issue at stake here: Accountability is good. But the quickness with which many jump to conclusions, make inflammatory judgments (like “he’s a monster”), and jump on the “smear the pastor” band-wagon is bad.

    The conclusion of the matter is this:

    1. Ms. Mefferd has retracted her accusations and apologized to Mark Driscoll. So should all those who jumped on the “smear the pastor” bandwagon.

    2. The alleged plagiarism of Dr. Jones is not not substantial. The publisher of Driscoll’s book reviewed the allegations and concluded that Driscoll’s use of Jones’ ideas and crediting to him was to publishing standards.

    3. Having an editorial staff that helps put together publications is what publishing companies — in this case a large church — do. Editors do not usually get a “by line”. There’s nothing insidious or illegitimate about having an editorial staff is yet another example of the unfairness with which some have pursued this story.

    4. The plagiarism of two brief paragraphs from a commentary of 1 Peter has now been denounced by Mars Hill itself. The publication in which it occurred is little more than an internal study guide. Churches commonly produce material for their Sunday School or small groups and likely, inadvertent failures to proper cite sources is also common. The mistake is being corrected. There is no evidence is that it was intentional plagiarism. To treat this as though it is a great moral failure is absurd.

    5. The real substantial issues here are the worldly scandal-mongering that many Christians relish, including some Christian media organizations, the cynical and reflexively scornful attitudes toward Christian leaders.

    • John, to a lot of people it looks like Mefford was pressured into doing that. I recommend you read the comments by her show’s producer, who resigned over the matter. Also, I really don’t see why we should take a publisher’s word for it that a book they published wasn’t plagiarizing. Obviously they are biased–they have a great interest in protecting their reputation and that of the author. I really don’t see how it makes sense to take their word at face value.
      I get that Driscoll thinks that being scholarly is akin to rebelliousness, but if he’s going to publish books, he should play by the rules. And when he breaks the rules of ethics, he needs to own up to it. That is the godly thing to do. This “citation error” thing is nonsense. As Lane Severson pointed out on Twitter, “A citation error is a formatting issue. When you don’t even try to cite it is plagiarism.” It’s really not that complicated.

      • It’s hard to take your comment too seriously Olivia when it is so full of misinformation but to suggest that the publisher is going to dismiss plagiarism allegations to save face is absurd for if they were true, then they’d have two lawsuits to deal with.

        Secondly, there is not a single pastor/author who does not have a substantially sized team of writers and researchers doing most of their work because it simply is not possible or practical for a full time pastor to be doing the required amount of work to publish a book and so for Driscoll to claim it was something he was unaware of is quite accurate, not an attempt to cover up. Why such hostility towards a man you do not even know? He is certainly doing more to point people to Jesus than you apparently are.

        • John Carpenter

          You’re exactly right. Excellent comment from you. Thank you for it.

          There was probably a breakdown here in checking if the study guide put out to supplement the sermon series was cited correctly. But it’s a mistake. Can’t we all understand that mistakes happen and be a little gracious?

      • John Carpenter

        I have read the comments of the show producer. She has no evidence but manipulates with innuendo.

        I would assume that publishers would be experts on the professional standards of publishing.

        You revealed your judgmental and slanderous assumptions with this: “I get that Driscoll thinks that being scholarly is akin to rebelliousness”. This controversy has brought out all the scandal mongers that are salivating at a chance to smear a pastor. You need to deal with your own problems. That would be the “godly” thing to do.

    • Erm, no, Mefferd has not retracted the allegations of plagiarism. She apologized for her manner and expressed surprise at how quickly it had all “gone viral”.

      In fact, by detailing in part how she should have handled it differently, she is clearly not apologizing for the content of her charges.

        • Benedict Cumberpatch

          Apparently John can read minds of those who disagree with Driscoll.

          But can you blame Mefferd? Devotees like John would slander her up a wall if she continued to try to hold Driscoll accountable.

    • Right on all counts, John! And especially about #5. But credible people aren’t paying much attention to the scandal mongering. It’s easy to see the agenda underneath it.

      • John Carpenter

        Yes, you’re right April. If he had really done something wrong — like Ergun Caner has — then that would be one thing. But the issue here is a mistake being used by some to further their lust for attacking a pastor. It’s the expression of that hatred of authority that is destroying the evangelical church in America.

        • “hatred of authority”
          You need to get one thing clear John: the only people who should be reasonably expected to view Driscoll as an “authority” are the members of his congregation and no one else. I owe my pastors and my elders respect and allegiance, but I don’t owe Mark any more than any other human being. He’s not an authority.

    • 100% in agreement with (5). The legalistic tone and gnat-straining in many comments throughout this whole episode suggest to me that many critics are just begging the question: They’ve already decided that something serious has taken place because of the celebrity status of the man in the center of the story. And it amounts to a log in the eye obscuring the facts. (As John Carpenter has pointed out dispassionately.)

      Incidentally, I don’t particularly like or dislike Mark Driscoll. I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a follower or fan. But I’ve been on the receiving end of enough pharisaism in 37 years in the church to recognize when it’s being directed at someone else.

      • John Carpenter

        Good comment. Thanks for it. I’m not at all attached to Driscoll either but I’m intrigued as to why he provokes so much reflexive hatred on the part of some “Christians”. Driscoll is theologically sound and (as yet) free of moral failures but every time he does anything there is a flurry of dark accusations about how horrible he is. It’s weird and I think it demonstrates some thing very sick in the evangelical church in America.

        • No hate is going on. I find it interesting that some Christians think that any criticism of a leader’s action is the same as saying “Church Leader A is no good.”

          Rather it is a relentless pursuit of making sure Christian leaders are “above reproach,” as the book of Titus says. Sensible Christians would want Driscoll to repent and fly right and be a man of his word for the next several decades.

          • If it’s really a relentless pursuit of accountability, where are you on the Ergun Caner situation? Why won’t you post in your real name so we can hold you accountable?

      • Benedict Cumberpatch

        Dave, what do you make of the fact that Driscoll has referred to plagiarism as “demonic” and said any pastor who commits it should quit their job?

        Should he not answer to his own standard, or is that legalistic and gnat-straining?

        • No, I don’t think he should answer “to his own standard.” We answer to God, who is merciful, not to something we may have said in immature or excessive zeal. And thank God for that or every one of us would be discarded by the Lord as useless.

          I suspect that however this controversy is resolved Mark Driscoll’s zeal and enthusiasm will be tempered in some way by the harshness of his critics. But that in no way excuses anyone from being merciless to Driscoll. “With the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

          • Benedict Cumberpatch

            Hey Dave,

            I’m fine going with God’s standards. He’s pretty clear about lying and theft. So why do you keep bringing up other people compare Mark to if you believe using God’s standards?

            It’s a gross misunderstanding and insult to scripture to say preachers are held to the same standard their position as other believers. You cannot just ignore massive portions of Scripture which makes the requirements for pastors and teachers very clear.

            A pastor or teacher stepping down because they do not have the qualifications is in not synonymous with someone repenting of sin. No one is questioning whether or not Driscoll can repent, but they are questioning whether it is scriptural to say pastor or teacher who is unfit will be fit again after he repents, which he still has yet to do.

            Best to stop suspecting, assuming, and judging peoples’ hearts, huh?

    • 1. The late Chuck Colson said ministers who use (unacknowledged) co-writers and ghost writers were being dishonest.

      2. Inadvertent copyright infringement is still legally actionable, according to the U.S. Copyright Office and the Digital Media Law Project: http://wp.me/p3TOr-1ky

      3. Why do some ministers who start out legit become cult leaders? Because too many Christians *reflexively* accept explanations from ministers and ministries. Ted Haggard had an explanation for the accusations leveled against him. I’m sure some folks believed him for a while. In retrospect, the willingness to believe the first official explanation was short-sighted.

      • John Carpenter

        Everyone who writes a book or has an article published in a magazine has editors go over it and makes changes. Driscoll has some books co-written with others; one with a theology professor and one with his wife and they are credited.

        I actually don’t know any instances of evangelical leaders who started legitimate and became cult leaders. Haggard was ousted.

        Do you just want to keep the controversy going?

    • John, you are protesting too much. You are obviously in the bag for Marky Mark. Maybe you should direct your efforts toward teaching him how to properly cite a source? Driscoll has been off the rails for a long time. This is just one of many issues. Hopefully this issue will cause people to look into his claims of seeing pornographic visions of the people whom he counsels among other problematic things…

      • John Carpenter

        I don’t know and have no direct communication with Mark Driscoll whom you derisively call “Marky Mark”.

        And you can’t provide any evidence for him being “off the rails”. You’ve broken the 9th commandment (Ex. 20:16) by bearing false witness. Believe it or not, you’re accusations actually have to be true.

    • Sorry, you can try to minimize it as a “mere internal study guide” but it’s been seen for sale on the Logos website.

      Any church ripping off other people’s material for their internal use is still guilty of trying to pass off other people’s material as their own.

      Not “intentional plagierism”? How do you get that? Did it happen in Driscoll’s sleep? Was he temporarily insane?

      • John Carpenter

        I guess you haven’t bothered to read the explanation they offered above. And I’d guess you’ve never actually written anything other than throwing pot-shots on the internet. People who have written material that requires citations know that sometimes mistakes happen.

        You have no evidence that Driscoll was trying to “rip off” anyone. There is a commandment that deals with false accusations: the 9th (Ex. 20:16). Don’t break it.

        • We aren’t discussing Driscoll’s intentions or his motivation. No one but God knows that.

          We are only discussing what he *did.* As an author it was his responsibility — no one else’s, unless he can prove it by showing us a contract — to either write original copyrightable material or obtain permission.

    • John – I’m curious why you feel such a passion to defend Mark Driscoll. We are called by Christ in scripture to stand up for those who cannot defend themselves, (James 1:27, Matt. 25:36, 18; Isaiah 1:17, 23, 1 Tim. 5:22) however I think Mark Driscoll is capable of defending himself. Those who need to be defended by you are the hundreds, dare I say thousands of people that he has wounded.

      You mention that accountability is good in your previous post and I would challenge you with the truth that Mark Driscoll has no real accountability.
      1) The media and bloggers – They may challenge his teachings or writings, but in reality this serves to embolden those who support Mark and further inflame those who dislike him.
      2) Influential Pastors and Church Leaders – Mark has claimed that men like John Piper and C.J. Mahaney have mentored him over the years but my hunch is that this amounts to limited interactions where Mark has sought their advice on particular issues.
      3) Board of Elders or Church-related authority – This is where the real accountability should be happening from men who know mark day in, day out and have the authority to speak into Mark’s life. This does not exist, and it’s not an accident that it doesn’t exist. Mark has set up the bylaws of Mars Hill to create an illusion of accountabilty, while actually providing none. See former Pastor Petry’s detailed account at www.joyfulexiles.com. Specifically on the accountability issue, as he was reviewing the proposed bylaws here was his legal opinion: “There appears to be a glaring conflict of interest in that the Board of Directors appoints the executive elder team, but the executive elder team has the power to terminate the board members.” (available here: http://joyfulexiles.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/09-26-2007-recommendations-re-bylaws-to-pastor-jaimie.pdf. Translation is that Mark Driscoll appoints a Board of Directors who are supposed to appear as authority, though they cannot actually serve as an authority or accountability because Mark Driscoll also has the authority to fire them.

      So, John, you seem to be a good man who is seeking God and I respect and appreciate that. I would challenge you to spend more of your time defending/ protecting the disenfranchised and not the entitled.

    • Sometimes good people do bad things. In fact, that’s the point of the Apostle Paul’s complaint that he did not do the things he wanted to do.

      Just because, in your mind, Mark Driscoll’s heart is in the right place, it doesn’t mean he cannot possibly do anything wrong.

      For some followers of Christian leaders, any criticism of a particular incident is an attack on *everything* the leader has ever done.

      But that simply isn’t true. This post is a direct criticism of a particular event. Each action stands on its own merit.

  9. For me, it’s not at all insignificant that Driscoll would use docent to write his study guide (or chunks of it) and pass it on as his own. Ghostwriting is inappropriate for a Christian minister. People should do their own work, period. I’m sure it’s nice to speak ideas out and then let someone else turn it into marketable text because it’s sold NOT under the name of the actual author (or cutter-and-paster, in this case) but rather the famous person who gave some direction, but it’s also deceptive. (This assumes that the Mars Hill explanation is truthful, which I honestly question in light of the 14 pages of Dr Jones’s material.)

    • Indeed. There would have been nothing wrong with Mars Hill encouraging members to get or even providing members with copies of the New American Bible commentary and other helpful resources. But it becomes an integrity issue when they are clearly pushing out too much material to be responsible in fact checking and using citations properly.

    • John Carpenter

      You obviously know nothing about writing. Every book or an article in a magazine has editors go over it. That’s what editors do. I know, I worked with one. We even edit interviews.

      And there is no plagiarism of 14 pages from Dr. Jones book. Get your facts straight.

  10. Anyway, the point is now confirmed: Mark Driscoll is a plagiarist. By saying someone at Docent wrote it, what Mars Hill is inadvertently admitting to is this: *Mark Driscoll took sizeable chunks of text and passed them off as his own.* (Maybe even the whole study guide?) In the end, it’s the same thing — not stealing from a published work but from an unpublished work. A research assistant is supposed to find primary source material, which the author then reads and uses *as he constructs his OWN sentences and paragraphs.* To just take someone’s written text and then publish it is still intellectual theft.

    • John Carpenter

      Baloney. It was two brief paragraphs in what amounts to little more than an internal study guide. Your insinuation that it was the whole study guide is groundless.

      Theft requires intent. I’m sorry that the facts get in the way of your crusade to smear a pastor, but they do.

      • John, you need to work a little on charity in both your reading and your writing. Anyway, my sentence ending with a question mark is not an insinuation; it’s a question — and a valid one, namely, did Mark write the study guide or not. The fact is that people at Docent gave him material which he then published under his own name. There are multiple examples, not two brief paragraphs: get your facts straight before you go off bloviating. And IVP (the publisher) validates it sees this as inappropriate (of course! People who know about writing would see this as an obvious problem). All of this is not what one does w/ a research assistant’s material. Even if the assistant agreed to it, it’s deceitful, sloppy, unethical. If you work in editing — as you bloviated — you should know this. Try what he did at your place of employment, and see how long you stay employed. Taking someone’s text that you didn’t write and passing it off as your own — that is plagiarism and theft. One doesn’t *accidentally* cut/paste large chunks of text and call them your own. If someone else did it for Driscoll and then published it under his name, that is still a problem of theft: Driscoll is stealing credit from the person to whom it’s due. Because he knows that people will want to buy his book and not the book of the nameless research assistant who apparently isn’t worth crediting. And because it looks better to have more and more published works attached to one’s name; so if Driscoll permitted that, still theft. If the assistant agreed to it, (s)he is simply complicit in the immoral behavior.

        • John Carpenter

          Let me get this straight: You’re working hard to find fault with a pastor over a lack of a proper citation for two brief paragraphs in what amounts to little more than an internal study guide and yet it’s ME who needs to work on charity? Do you have any self-awareness?

          Having editors and assistants is common practice in publishing. To call this “theft” is absurd and demonstrates the extent you’ll go in your crusade to smear.

          • Yes, that’s correct, John Carpenter: you don’t have charity enough to read carefully before bloviating. It’s *not* two paragraphs, *nor* are the texts in question brief. The larger discussion involves various publications (not only the study guide), and various authors (Dan Allender, D.A. Carson’s edited work, and Peter Jones). You are uncharitable because you’re ignoring facts, you’re pretending not to ignore them, and you’re obfuscating.

            I’ve purchased many of Driscoll’s books and have given many of them to people — because I thought he wrote them. So, by finding out that he may not have written some of the material that he’s attaching his name to, yes, I’m troubled. And you should stop *your* crusade to shout people down. Instead, read carefully, and consider that some people don’t want to smear, but just want the truth. It’s possible to appreciate Mark Driscoll (or parts of his ministry, if not all of it) and yet want accountability!

          • John Carpenter

            I’ve looked at the copies of the material side-by-side and the plagiarized material appears to be only two paragraphs and very brief ones at that. And you’re a hypocrite to be on this ridiculous campaign to smear a pastor for an editorial mistake and then telling others that they lack “charity”.

            I’m not obfuscating nor have I ignored any facts. That’s a false accusation and you’ve broken the 9th commandment (Ex. 20:16) by hatefully spewing it and shown yourself to be a hypocrite by simultaneously hating and accusing me of a lack of “charity”.

            I’m sorry that you don’t know enough about writing and publishing that you are actually surprised to find out that there are such people as editors and assistants. But there is nothing wrong with that. I worked as an editor and it is common practice to change someone’s writing and yet it is still theirs. Sometimes mistakes happen. Mistakes are not moral issues. But baseless smear campaigns and self-righteous hypocrisy are moral issues.

          • John C: if you read all of the pieces, there’s way more than 2 paragraphs. He uses Dan Allender’s terminology *and ideas* (plagiarism is not just about sentences, but also ideas) as if he made it up, making him look like an extremely clever knower-of-persons; but he read it somewhere else. That’s just one of the examples — I won’t go into the others — you could do that if you wanted to. Clearly you don’t.

          • Whether Driscoll intended to rip off another author or not, it appears that he did.

            Most publishing contracts put the burden of obtaining permissions on the author, not the editor or the ghostwriter(s).

            If it is otherwise in this case, maybe Mark Driscoll could make all of this go away if he showed us his contract.

      • No, copyright violation damage remedies don’t require intent. The penalties are pretty straightforward. There are penalties even if no intent is proven, and even higher penalties if it is.

        http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#503

  11. Let’s get some terminology straight here: Plagiarism is copying someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. It’s an ethical issue. Copyright infringement is substantially copying someone else’s work, including paraphrasing it, without their expressed permission. Using proper citations does not substitute for getting permission. It’s a civil and sometimes a criminal issue What occurred here, apparently, was both plagiarism and copyright infringement.

    Secondly, although there are some common factors as to when fair use might be applied, an individual does not have the authority to claim fair use for himself simply to keep the authorities off his back. Only a court can decide fair use when a claim of infringement exists. So the ministry saying “it’s fair use” has no legal standing whatsoever. Fair use is a defense in a legal action, not a positive affirmation to describe your work.

    • John Carpenter

      You’re right. For some, though, this is what they live for: the possibility of being able to take down a prominent pastor. They take a Satanic delight in it. And THAT is the real issue at stake here.

  12. What’s really sad is that people call this a “witch hunt” (or ignorantly argue that there isn’t such a thing as original thoughts). That’s very cynical. Why do you assume people are out to get Driscoll? I’m not; I’ve been blessed by several of his books and many of his sermons in the past. For me it’s about truth and integrity. and few people harp on integrity as much as Driscoll (which isn’t too say he’s wrong for doing so). But if I then learn he’s stealing text, which Mars Hill just admitted w/o using the right language (taking your research assistant’s text and publishing it under your name is theft), it certainly is a matter worthy of investigation — not a witch hunt!

    • John Carpenter

      Because you misrepresent what’s going on. It’s two brief paragraphs lacking proper citation in what is little more than an internal study guide. Churches commonly produce material for their Sunday School or small groups and likely, inadvertent failures to proper cite sources is also common. The mistake is being corrected. There is no evidence is that it was intentional plagiarism. To treat this as though it is a great moral failure is absurd.

      If this were really a matter of “integrity” then you wouldn’t be making false accusations. You wrote, “taking your research assistant’s text and publishing it under your name is theft”. That’s absurd. Just absurd. Stop making false accusations. You’re either completely ignorant about publishing (in which case you need to get an education and shut up) or you are simply a slanderer — or both.

      • John Carpenter, yes, and a lot of churches violate copyright law every day. What’s your point?

        Copyright means the rights to reproduce and distribute. Unless a church buys a license or gets permission, they have no right to reproduce or distribute someone else’s work. And most pastors know this because the Christian music and choral music industries are relentless on churches that do it.

        Intentionality doesn’t matter. There are statutory monetary damages awarded to the copyright holder regardless of whether there is intent.

        By the way, I’m glad you linked to your site. It’s good to know how the pastor of Covenant Reformed Baptist Church in Caswell Co., NC, stands on this issue.

  13. Off the main point of the controversy, but related to one of the quotes you use in the post, Jonathan. Apparently Docent has a quote from Mr. Driscoll where he says the Docent researcher “humbly” provided research assistance. I thought Docent charged a fee. It’s not like Docent hands out their research for free (if you check the website, they have a way to contact them for rate structures depending on your research needs).

    The quote makes it sound like someone provided research assistance but did so without expecting anything in return, thus making it a humble act. But they did get something, by way of a pay check. I guess I just don’t understand the quoted line’s use of the word “humble”. Maybe it means something other than the way I use the word.

  14. linda baldwin

    Couple things come to mind: the person with zero sin should feel free to throw the first stone at him . You should take care of the log in your own eye before pointing out the speck in your neighbour’s. Also, Jesus’s grace,mercy and love goes a looooong way. We should consider these things before we well….

    • Linda, you’re not getting it. It’s not about condemnation. It’s about reality. If he stole from a store, is that ok? Should we just smile at him because he’s a pastor? (I’m a pastor, so I’m not being anti-authoritian.)

      • No, sadly, I am getting it. And you know, those of your position and Mark’s will be judged at a higher standard than us. So I’m willing to let God take care of that. If he is guilty then let those who have been wronged rectify the situation with him. It has nothing to do with us. As i am not part of this situation, i choose to pray that his ministry will continue to reach folks for Jesus. And, to suggest that I don’t understand the situation and that I think we should just smile at him, is both insulting and condescending.

        • I wonder if Linda has bothered to read what driscoll has said about plagiarism and what should be done with plagiarists. What’s “sad” is she doesn’t think driscoll should even be held to the same standard he holds others to, but attacks people for expecting something very reasonable.

          Maybe she should direct her attacks toward driscoll who has gone after other plagiarists?

          • Do you really think that Mark would plagiarize knowing how he feels about plagiarists or do you think that maybe it actually could have been an honest mistake? All I see here is a bunch of self-righteous Pharisees trying to divide the Body of Christ while Satan is laughing.

          • Linda Baldwin

            My attacks? What attacks? If using scripture to remind folks of how those in Christ aught to conduct themselves is an attack then I guess I’m guilty.

        • I’m not insulting you, Linda — I’m saying that I don’t think that you grasp intellectual property. People get expelled from universities for this all the time. If you take someone else’s idea and pretend it’s your own, then you’ve wronged them, period. It’s wrong to attach one’s own name to the intellectual property of a different person. And Driscoll knows that; he preaches on it and teaches on it and it’s even on his website. So he is not the innocent victim of a crusade or something. People (me, and some others) want him to be held accountable for something that is obviously wrong. And you are saying something factually incorrect that it has nothing to do with “us.” Speak for yourself. I have spent money buying his books — lots of money. I’ve given his books out to many people. And when I did so, I did so believing that I was purchasing his own material. That’s why I bought it. So, if I’m not, and if (if! we can stay hypothetical for the sake of the argument) he’s taking Dan Allender’s and Peter Jones’s and D.A. Carson’s or whoever’s material and acting like it’s his own, then that’s a breach of trust vis-a-vis the reading public, and it affects everyone who’s bothering to read him. I’m glad he reaches people for Jesus; he just needs to do that with his own words, and to credit others for theirs — as he knows. For me, if he’s preaching and uses an idea and forgets to credit the author, that’s one thing. Preaching can go fast, you can change course quickly and unexpectedly, and sermons aren’t academic papers. I’d give him more grace if he forgot to credit someone in a sermon. But these are published works for which he’s earning money. So, the standard is higher. You are troubled that people have a problem with this. I am troubled that so few people have a problem with this, and that so many people seem to jump to his defense w/o regard for relevant facts. I don’t say we burn him at the stake or that he be fired; I just want anything that needs to be acknowledged (and God knows all what that is, and we have some true ideas because of Mefferd and Jonathan Merritt and Warren Throckmorton).

          • John Carpenter

            You’re assuming it’s not a mistake. It’s that assumption that is wrong. Deal with it.

          • Oh, my mistake. You’re not insulting me, I’m just not capable of understanding the situation. I’m too stupid. My bad. Well, I do understand scripture and I get that by the way we judge others is how we will be judged. And I get that everyone sins, and Jesus said (surely He is capable of understanding) he who is without sin should cast the first stone,also, the Bible ( surely the Bible writers understand the situations) say if we say we have no sin we are calling God a liar. So…my understanding is that this situation should be between MD and those he “wronged”. Did he plagerize you? I have been published in magazines and in online magazines, my husband was in the ministry for 25 years and I’m a counsellor, so I might be a little more capable of understanding intellectual property than you assume.

          • Linda, I don’t think and didn’t say that you’re “stupid.” I’m saying you’re wrong. if you want to interpret me as telling you you’re incapable of understanding (the farthest thing from my mind), that’s your business.

            As to you and your husband, so? What does that have to do with intellectual property or judgment? The sin of judgment isn’t about pointing things out — it’s about condemnation and doing it with the wrong spirit, and hypocritically so. I’m not judging MD. I’m saying he made mistakes and that he’s accountable. I don’t want him hurt. I just want him to be honest about what happened. I hope he continues to be used by Jesus for many years, in whatever ways Jesus wants to use him. But then, let him give credit where it was due.

          • Linda Baldwin

            You’re correct. I was just guessing that since you automatically assumed I didn’t understand intellectual property and it’s ramifications that you assumed I was stupid..why else would you jump to that conclusion. Didn’t you mention in an earlier post that you were a Pastor? I listed my ‘qualifications’ at the end of the post so you can see we have dealt with/deal with intellectual property issues often, be it in my writing, photography or music in the church. Those, and the fact that you mentioned your profession earlier, are the reasons I mentioned it..to answer your ‘so’ question.

          • Linda, it’s hard to discuss with someone who keeps taking the victim position. We should be able to disagree, w/o resorting to the victim position (“you think I’m ignorant because you disagree with me.” “You think I’m stupid because you disagree with me.”). Your assumption (that challenges to your position are attacks on you) is incorrect, and is a conversation-stopper.

      • John Carpenter

        Except there is no evidence that he stole anything. Unless you have evidence to prove otherwise, a mistake happened and so Linda Baldwin is right.

        • Linda Baldwin

          Hey John, I see you’re getting slammed as much as me. I reckon after awhile it’s not worth the time to keep up with it and already you and I have been accused of things that aren’t true, so I’m signing off now. Keep up the good fight! See you on the forums…(I saw on that one forum the guy said you were a troll because he sees you on all the forums…ummm so how does that not make him a troll if that’s his criteria? It’s amazing that people cannot see the hypocrisy of their own words) Peace.

      • Mark, you are unfortunately wasting your time trying to be reasonable with Linda, Donna and John. They are going to each of the blogs trying to get answers for what happened and attacking anyone personally who wants them. They use the “poisoning the well” rhetorical approach toward anyone who wants answers, slandering them all and judging their motives and hearts..

        I have asked all of them as to why driscoll shouldn’t answer to the same standard he sets for others, but that’s all part of idolatry… don’t hold your idol to even his own standard.

        All the while, they will continue acting like they are the only Christians in the room as they flame everyone else. Very similar to cult behavior such as scientology.

  15. What about the allegations regarding plagiarism in other books by this “author”?

    For instance:
    http://wenatcheethehatchet.blogspot.com/search?q=allender
    _

    • John Carpenter

      The alleged plagiarism of Dr. Jones is not not substantial. The publisher of Driscoll’s book reviewed the allegations and concluded that Driscoll’s use of Jones’ ideas and crediting to him was to publishing standards.

  16. I personally know Pastor Mark. Have been around he and his family many times. He’s taken my son to the concession stand at a ball game and bought him his first pack of big league chew. He’s helped me personally, my family, the church I pastor, and I’ve watched him first-hand give of his time, behind the scenes, in ways no one will ever know to love pastors, pastors kids, leaders, hurting single women, you name it. He sincerely loves Jesus and His people. He wants people to meet Jesus, and through his preaching and ministry thousands do every year. If a tree is known by its fruit, the verdict is in by a landslide. And the critics are there by the bushel-full too. So easy to be an arm-chair quarterback – firing bullets – taking pot-shots… meanwhile the guy running around getting chased and throwing touchdowns gets nachos thrown at him by jerks in the stands too. Awesome. Seriously people, we can do better. If you love Jesus, love the Bible, love the Church, love lost people meeting Jesus, love truth, love grace, love godly marriages, love leaders being loved and served… then Mark, a sinner saved by grace, is on your team. I’m sure many of you will write me off as some starry eyed fan of the celebrity pastor – but you’d be wrong. I know Mark. He’s my friend. Do you know him? I’m thankful for his investments in my life and I’m reminded to pray for him all the more.

    • I don’t think the charges against him are meant to establish that P. Mark is a bad guy, that he’s not on “our team,” or that he’s even a different guy than the one who emerges in the picture you paint here. The charges only establish that he plagiarized. Good people certainly do stupid, bad things once in a while. Mark himself would probably admit—easily, with bravado even—to doing plenty of stupid, bad things himself. If he plagiarized, and it sure looks as though he has, I hope he admits to its being another one of those stupid, bad things that even good people find themselves doing, and that he receives grace for it through confessing and repenting in good faith.

      As far as the brouhaha goes, love covers over a multitude of sins—but letting someone off the hook because of his status in a community is not love. If Christians don’t keep our own house in order, the world will have to speak prophetically to us in our own stead, and I don’t imagine too many of us would welcome that eventuality—what with all the insults upon injuries and what-have-you.

    • Give me a break. Driscoll and his fans don’t think he should even be accountable to the standard he expects from others. Shame on your elitism and pharisaical attitude. Your elitism is the reason the church is so often seen as hypocritical.

      • So, this guy has an elitist mentality due to knowing Mark Driscoll? That seems to me to be a little disingenuous of an attack. All this man presented is that he knows and respects Driscoll, and there is nothing wrong with that.

      • So… anyone who tells a Christian leader he is wrong is a jealous hater?

        I guess that makes Nathan the prophet in the Old Testament, who called out King David for adultery and murder, a “jealous hater”?

        Sometimes Christian leaders need to be called out so that they can repent and start again with the clear conscious.

      • Benedict Cumberpatch

        So everyone who has an issue with plagiarism, theft and lying is a jealous hater.

        Since driscoll has said he has issues with those things, is he a jealous hater?

    • John Carpenter

      Thanks for the affirmation. I’ve never met or directly interacted with Mark Driscoll. But theologically he is sound and there’s (as yet) been no moral failures revealed. Until there is, as an elder, he deserves more protection from accusations, not less (1 Tim. 5:19). Thank you for speaking up for him.

      • “But theologically he is sound”
        In your opinion. Some, like Dr MacArthur, would disagree.
        “and there’s (as yet) been no moral failures revealed.”
        By which you mean he’s not been caught with his hand in the offering plate or upon a church secretary? Personally, I consider his treatment of others, such as Mr Petry and Mr Myer a moral failure.
        “Until there is, as an elder, he deserves more protection from accusations, not less (1 Tim. 5:19).”
        Usually elders deserve the “more protection” which the evidence from 2 or 3 witnesses affords. But Driscoll has loads of protection from accusation.  He has staff for that (in my opinion). Security, PR, Legal, Reconciliation Committees etc. And he also has just maybe more than 2 or 3 witnesses. 
        “As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.”
        You may not think this applies to Driscoll. I think it does. But our opinions matter little. If his congregation(s) should conclude some day that he IS a false teacher or immoral, what chance do you think they’ll have of removing him?  If it’s slim, that’s a problem.
              Now about this present controversy: 
        In the middle of the night
        Miss Clavel (or Mefferd) turned on the light
        And said, “Something is not right” (from Evangeline)
        One thing which may not be right is the production of vast quantities of “content” under the Pastormark brand. He says, “I am now sending out literally thousands of pages of content a year, as well as preaching and teaching hundreds of hours of content a year,”  I ask “Why?” Ministers have no “Publish or Perish” mandate, do they? But do his assistants have one? Does this not increase the likelihood of borrowing material and other mistakes? How can he possibly oversee it all? Why not publish a bit less, seeing as there’s a good bit of  “content” already available?
        Let’s compare and contrast Pastormark with another popular teacher, Pastor Mark Dever. If I do a web search for “pastor mark”, Driscoll (not Dever) pops up in numerous forms.  Driscoll’s church. Pastormark twitter. PastormarkTV. 7 books since 2008. Controversies– lots of them. But only One Mark. He’s the brand. If I add  “Dever” to my search, I find his church and 9 additional Marks. One book since 2008. Few controversies. 9 Marks is the brand. Numerous writers are under the 9Marks brand. But with numerous writers under the Pastormark brand— well– something may not be right. 
        Hopefully they’ll make a change now, with this latest controversy.  I’m not holding my breath.

      • His porno visions are theologically sound? Seeing random people having sex in his mind?

        MacArthur did a good piece on the raping of the song of Solomon by Driscoll. His theology is most certainly not sound.

        I think once people realize that carpenter will deny driscoll committed plagiarism even if driscoll admitted doing so, it will all make sense. He has far too much invested in his idol.

  17. This is what Docent Group owner Glenn Lucke said in an interview with TGC on plagiarism three years ago.

    In the midst of cultural pressures to remain silent, R. Albert Mohler Jr. calls ministers to speak the truth because souls are at stake.

    Biblical Principles for Handling Conflict – by Alexander Strauch

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    Dec

    22

    2010

    Glenn Lucke|6:00 AM CT

    TGC Asks Glenn Lucke: When Has a Preacher Crossed the Line into Plagiarism in His Sermon?
    TGC Asks Glenn Lucke: When Has a Preacher Crossed the Line into Plagiarism in His Sermon? avatar

    Note from Collin Hansen, TGC editorial director: This week we’re examining the thorny issue of pulpit plagiarism. We’ve heard from pastors, ethicists, scholars, and researchers to work toward common understanding on this pressing, perennial dilemma. Finally we turn to Glenn Lucke, who runs Docent Research Group, which provides customized research assistance for pastors and churches.

    * * * * * * * * * *

    Using another’s sermon material in one’s own messages is not a simple black-and-white issue, but rather a gray area requiring wisdom. Factors in play include quantity of material used, permission, attribution, and cultural conventions about published versus spoken material.

    The concept of plagiarism addresses at least two concerns: (1) taking material from another and (2) representing another’s work as one’s own. In short, stealing and cheating. The amount of borrowed material affects deliberations about plagiarism in academia and publishing and should also in the church.

    Does reciting a minority portion of another’s sermon without attribution constitute plagiarism? Without permission, yes (stealing). With permission? No. What about a sermon that is paraphrased and personalized by another? Not as clear. What about the creative framing of a topic or a story or an outline? Do these require attribution? Grey areas, but these don’t require attribution.

    Does reciting another’s sermon nearly verbatim without attribution constitute plagiarism? Yes, because even with permission such a practice activates plagiarism’s second concern, cheating. Ask yourself, “Why would a follower of the Truth take credit for the work of another?”

    Last, by convention we place higher standards on published works than on speech acts. We recognize that breaking verbal stride to cite sources frequently in a sermon short-circuits the power of preaching.

    Wisdom Guide:
    •Don’t tell someone else’s first-person story in the first-person.
    •If the bulk of a message is from another, regardless of permission, briefly attribute the source(s). If you fear such candor would diminish you, crucify your ego. Or simply don’t use the material.
    •If a minority portion is from another and you have permission to use the material without attribution, enjoy the gift.
    •Err on the side of attribution . . . but too-frequent attributions distract from and thus dissipate the power of the sermon.

  18. Note: I think I was wrong about something I wrote earlier; Mark Driscoll apparently didn’t write the chapter where Dan Allender’s material was used. It was his wife who apparently wrote that chapter. My error.

  19. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Seems these people are more concerned with their “rights”, their “credits”, their “money” than they are about helping people draw closer to God. A true spiritual person would not behave this way. They would not care of someone used their words to help people. The bottom line is helping people, not making sure you get every penny and every bit of credit from your distribution.

    • Benedict Cumberpatch

      We certainly aren’t helping people draw closer to God by throwing out the parts of the Bible that disagree with our lifestyle and our responsibility as Christians, and covering up sin and hypocrisy in the church.

      A true spiritual person would not care about lying and deceit by pastors? Really? Did you miss all of Paul’s letters?

  20. Benedict Cumberpatch

    I think there is a more sinister issue here that John Carpenter, Linda and Donna are exemplifying… it is the issue of relativism.

    Why is there a need to bring up what they perceive as peoples’ personal issues, hearts etc when they call on driscoll to be held to his own standard or the biblical standard?

    The implication is that something is right or wrong relative to what others are doing. This is the same mentality that justified Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. After all, everyone else is doing something or has issues, so why should we expect someone, such as a pastor, to do anything differently?

    The problem is, there is no biblical support at all for the idea that we are to be held to account, or be judged, based on what others are doing. Lying doesn’t become less lying if others are doing it, and it’s not right or wrong based on what others are doing, it’s wrong because God and the Bible say so.

    What the real issue here is is this secular idea of relativism, which is rampant within modern western Christianity and is manifesting itself in the defense of Driscoll by attacking anyone who believes he should be held to a Biblical account.

  21. I sure hope John Carpenter is getting paid for all his Mars Hill promotion. That much flaming of anyone who questions his idol has got to be pretty taxing.

    Anyone remember Richard Abanes on every post about Rick Warren? Hmmm…

  22. Benedict Cumberpatch

    Slate just released an interview with Mefferd.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/life/faithbased/2013/12/mark_driscoll_plagiarism_accusations_janet_mefferd_accused_the_seattle_pastor.html

  23. Benedict Cumberpatch

    I just read this on a fb page:

    “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.” — Mark Driscoll, Vintage Church, p. 105

  24. So the researchers are being thrown under the bus which means that Mr. Driscoll didn’t actually write the book. I have family who are clergy, and I understand Mr. Driscoll only spends 4 hours a week preparing for his sermons versus 32 hours Dr. MacArthur spends for sermon preparation. My brother, a preacher, doesn’t spend near this amount of time preparing for his sermons, but he certainly spends more than four hours per week.

    I almost wonder if Mr. Driscoll actually writes his sermons. So his researchers may also be involved here. So these researchers can also be thrown under the bus for Driscoll’s, almost weekly, gaffes. Such as the opinion that Queen Esther is a harlot.

    Mr. Driscoll needs to apologize for errors that are his and his alone. Harry Truman said that the buck stops here. If Mr. Driscoll doesn’t proof content that his ghost writers, or sermon writers, send to him, then he is irresponsible. He needs to stop throwing others under the bus, though from what I understand, he believes throwing people under the Mars Hill bus is a virtue.

  25. Driscoll is a dangerous person! I honestly think that this is coming out so God can tell people to stay away from Mars Hill ( which is pretty much a cult). We attended Mars hill for 6 months and it was very clear to my husband and myself that Jesus wasn’t the center of this church! The amount of ” control” Mark wants over his pastors / congregation is extremely concerning and has nothing to do with bringing people closer to Christ.. From wanting members to write down their sexual histories, telling members to cut family members off or anyone else who doesn’t agree with his beliefs ( shunning), anyone who remotely questions Mark’s teachings is kicked out/ shunned or even worse. He doesn’t preach the word of God he preaches Mark’s version of the word. What saddens me most is that a publisher like Tyndale house is backing this type of person and didn’t even own up to their own mistakes!

    • Mark Obenauer

      Mark Driscoll’s ministry is all about control. I have read your description and those of others and it just confirms that this is a church to be avoided.

      A gentleman who attended Mars Hill was asked to repent of idolatry because he was attempting to stop smoking. Smoking isn’t idolatry — it is an addiction to one of nature’s most addictive substances. The gentleman needed prayers, not condemnation, and describing a laudatory attempt to quit smoking as a symptom of idolatry was an attempt to read sin where it really wasn’t an issue. Imagined sins can be made up under the Mars Hill model, and people can be shamed into a kind of bondage. Making or attempting to make someone constantly feel ashamed of themselves is a great form of control. Also this is a form of spiritual abuse.

      Also what of this major focus on imagined idolatry: how many at Mars Hill would do almost anything Mark Driscoll asked them to do? And he could and does theologically prove it all under the rubric of pastoral authority– his authority.

  26. I think everyone should do themselves a favor and stop responding to John Carpenter. The previous commenter is correct. Every article that I have read, anywhere on the internet, concerning Mark Driscoll, I see Carpenter’s name dominating the comments board and throwing mud and anyone who dares to question the little cussing boy Driscoll. Driscoll has not shown himself approved. I hope he steps down or the Lord graciously stops his so called ministry.

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