Mark Driscoll’s Plagiarism Witch Hunt

Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll

Read a follow-up to this piece HERE.

Yes, I know it is Thanksgiving. So maybe I am feeling a little bit more generous than usual. But even I am not beyond offering some grace and compassion toward Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll,  especially when I think he is being treated unfairly.

My wife, Amy, likened it to the president pardoning a symbolic turkey. Funny, I don’t see the parallel. Anyway…

Driscoll wrote a book called “A Call to Resurgence,”  in which he has been accused  of borrowing from, and even directly quoting, the written work of Dr. Peter Jones,  an adjunct professor at Westminster seminary in California.  Although Driscoll references Jones in the book, he does not always formally note and attribute ideas that, arguably could or should be credited to Jones.

Tyndale House Publishers, Driscoll’s publishing house, recently released a public statement that they have contacted Jones and are working directly with him and Driscoll to clarify any concerns and reach a mutually agreeable resolution.  But this came to the general public’s attention before this when radio talk show host Janet Mefferd had Driscoll on the air.

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

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

Still, Mefferd stayed on the offensive.  Effectively, she accused Driscoll of stealing Jones’ intellectual property,  which Driscoll tried to deflect by suggesting, perhaps, she was having a “grumpy day.”  And yet, she kept him in her sights.

She went on to suggest that he might be sued for his actions and, with all the flair of a radio talk show pundit, suggested that he would, ultimately, have to answer for his actions.

The grilling went on, and Driscoll demonstrated remarkable restraint, especially considering his past. Mefferd even went so far as to accuse Driscoll of hanging up on her in the middle of the interview, although it is apparent from the recording that, when she thinks he is gone, Driscoll responds with, “I’m still here.”

I am all for accountability and  for the protection of the intellectual property of my fellow authors. Driscoll may have screwed up, and he may even have done so knowingly. As far as I am concerned, that is a matter to be dealt with between him, Jones and their respective publishers and representatives.

My greater concern here is that it seems Ms. Mefferd  was mining for a juicy story and, when she did not get the dramatic response from Driscoll that she had hoped for, she pressed on in an attempt to create drama where there was none. Ultimately, she ended up wrongly accusing Driscoll of  talking during the interview and insulting her by hanging up, which he did not apparently do.

Chances are that Mark Driscoll and I will not be starting a bowling team together anytime soon. I probably won’t make it onto his Christmas card list, and that is just fine. I don’t care for much of what he stands for, how he treats women or the visceral anger he demonstrates on a regular basis toward those who disagree with him.

But he is a human being. He is an imperfect one at that, as we all are. And I would hope that, if he was in Mefferd’s position and I was in his,  he would offer some modicum of dignity and grace toward me, especially if I offered an apology for any offense I may have committed.

Stealing intellectual property is no small transgression, but neither is aggressively attempting to humiliate another person in the public eye in a desperate attempt to grab ratings to be the first to break a juicy new story.  Mark Driscoll deserves better.

 

About Christian Piatt

Christian Piatt is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. He co-created and co-edits the “WTF: Where’s the Faith?” young adult series with Chalice Press, and he has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date.

  • Elizabeth Prata

    Mr Piatt, plagiarism is no small matter. The allegations brought up on the radio show were important, and substantiated. In addition, there are additional evidences of plagiarism, in ANOTHER of Driscoll’s books aside from the original allegation in his A Call To Resurgence. These, sir, are word-for-word paragraphs lifted straight from one man’s work book to Driscoll’s. You can examine the pages for yourself here http://www.janetmefferd.com/update-plagiarism-examine-2/.

    I’m sorry you feel that the main part of the matter was a journalist “mining for a juicy story,” and also sorry you feel this is a private matter between a beleaguered author and his publisher rather than what it is, an under-shepherd of Jesus, exposed as one who has disqualified himself from ministry, according to the standards outlined in the Holy Bible. (Titus 1:6-9). The reproach is unto Jesus, THAT is the heart of the matter. Thank you.

  • Ingrid

    Christian Piatt, did you bother to listen to the last 2 days of the show with MORE plagiarism examples in another book, including word for word theft from D.A. Carson? You’d better update your post with the latest, as Mr. Driscoll is very obviously in a bad place by his own conduct. A witch hunt? What an absurd thing to call bad ethics. If plagiarism can end the career of secular academics and politicians, surely Christians would have even higher standards? Or would they?

    • Paula Coyle

      Half the time when people try to justify a famous pastor’s sin, I think it’s because they feel like they might be willing to do it too. Otherwise why would they act like it’s not as big a deal as it is? Reminds me of everyone who defended Bill Clinton “welll…. he admitted he did wrong and everyone lies about sex!”

      By the way, Janet wonders how Driscoll had any idea what her motives are. She probably forgot he gets “downloads” direct from God about people. I’d be willing to bet almost that he was getting one about her!

      Ya never know!

      • Geo

        I agree with what you guys are saying, but this is an incredibly unbiblical way to handle the situation. If she had issues she undoubtedly needed to take it to DA and Dr. Jones, but to take it into her own hands and do it on the phone, out of the blue is not grace filled or biblical.

  • John K

    Saying that she is having a bad day and also saying “I did you a favor” by coming on the show is not showing remarkable restraint. I don’t think everything was right in the way Janet went about it, but the big question is whether the allegations are true. And Mark’s website has a strong statement against plagiarism if it’s from him or his materials. If the charge is inaccurate, show that. Mefford, for her going after Driscoll, is making a definite charge. And Driscoll is a pastor. James 3:1 says that pastors are held to a higher standard. We can’t pass it off just by saying he’s an imperfect human being. The question is whether he did or didn’t do it. That’s more important than whether Janet was mining for a juicy story. BTW, the charge is not that Mark “does not always formally note and attribute ideas that, arguably could or should be credited to Jones.” The argument is that he NEVER does. You should acknowledge that, or come to a better understanding of the actual accusations before you write about it. Plagiarism is a big deal in the secular world; it should be a bigger deal in the Christian world.

  • Hannah_Thomas

    I don’t know. It took her three times of asking before he truly even addressed what she was saying in the first place. Telling the world you have dinner with the author, and he is your friend, brother in Christ – and all the rest? That doesn’t answer the question or issue. The third time she requested? He kind of answers, and then goes into the same speech he stated before…and then wonders why she got ‘grumpy’? (giggles) It took her three times before he addressed it! lol then he tells her she is being grumpy and accusatory AFTER he finally attempts an answer? Maybe the flu muted his eardrums, because she wasn’t asking about their relationship! She was asking about the material in question, and his priority was tell the world what awesome friend the author is! What’s up with that?

    It was odd interview anyway you look at it. Witchhunt? Nah. He should have stayed in bed with his flu medicine is more like it.

  • Adam Baughman

    Mr Platt,
    Driscoll did more than just “borrow” from Peter Jones, he “borrowed” from other authors and works as well for some of his other titles too. Get your facts straight before defending someone….witch hunt…..being treated unfairly….hogwash, Platt; that’s what you’re feeding us. Weirdest thing is, is that Driscoll offered an apology to Jones, but not to the other authors that he stole from. My friend, you have been brainwashed and are using your position to influence and persuade us as well. Next time, do your research first. This article, you’ve written, makes you look extremely naive or just merely ignorant.

  • Amy Shaw

    don’t defend this guy. It doesn’t matter if he is guilty of this one offense, he is guilty of plenty. We are called as christians to judge within the church, not out. Mark Driscoll makes his own bed; for the love of Peter let him lay in it.

    • Tom

      “It doesn’t matter if he is guilty of this one offense, he is guilty of plenty.”

      Is a very dangerous attitude to take!
      The police in my area used to take that attitude. “We can’t prove you did this particular offense, but we know you’re guilty of plenty. So we’ll drag you into the back of the police van and give you a kicking just to be sure.”.

      • Amy Shaw

        Tom: adventures in missing the point. It’s not wonder people do not find peace. You read what you wanted to see evidently; not what I wrote. So I guess this falls on deaf ears. Nonethless..

        I said nothing of hanging this guy for an alleged crime. Leave it alone. period. Who cares what the interviewer said or did. Do you even know if the interviewer was a christian? You never mentioned that. We are not called to hold accountable people who don’t share our faith. Mark wants fame and power, let him have it. Or do what you’re CALLED TO DO, and contact him privately, a fellow-believer, and address the other obscene issues he flagrantly advertises. There is no need to defend him. Silly article.

        • Frank

          Speaking of missing the point….

  • Evelyn

    Surely the point is not whether or not Driscoll did or didn’t do this that or the other, but the fact that anyone who claims to be a Christian ought to refrain from judgement / condemnation? Planks and specks / judge not / forgive us as we forgive / etc. Is that what you’re trying to say, Christian?
    Dealing with the issue from the practical side is between the authors and publishers, and not anyone else’s concern; the moral / ethical issue is between Driscoll and God. If a ‘crime’ (moral or legal) has been spotted it’s right to call it – forgiveness doesn’t call for secrecy. But it’s hard not to notice some crowing going on, as the mighty Driscoll appears to have fallen.
    Why do we keep giving this broken man so much attention, yet so little grace? (And yes, I’m well aware he doesn’t extend it to others – but isn’t that the point? And how will he ever be open to change, if he’s on the defensive all the time?).

    • Anonymous2

      Why?

      Because he is a pastor and pastors are called to much higher standards in Scripture than the rest of us. He has failed to be “above reproach” even by secular leadership standards.

      • Evelyn

        Fine. Probably true even. But it’s still not our problem. It’s a problem for him, for HIS church and for the publishers / authors involved. That’s the point I’m making, and I think that’s the point Christian is making (but feel free to correct me).

        • Paula Coyle

          It’s not our problem? Do I hear Cain talking from the grave?

          • Evelyn

            If you want to know whether something is your problem or not, ask yourself what happens to you is you do nothing. If the answer is nothing, it’s not your problem (thank you, Danny Silk <<< credit where credit is due LOL). If we focused our opinions on issues rather than people the whole tone of the blogosphere would probably improve. Just a thought.

        • Doug

          I agree that issues within a church need to stay in a church, but I am wondering how that principle should be applied when a pastor – or anyone – produces content for public distribution. Should the Christian at-large who is aware of an error made in public not be responsible for seeking to correct it if they are also aware of it?

          • Evelyn

            Yes, absolutely. All I’m saying is that i think the way some ‘Christians-at-large’ have gone about ‘correcting’ the error(s) is not helpful to achieving what I would see as the goal: conviction, repentance, amends, reconciliation. It’s not the content that I’m objecting to, or the fact of correction, it’s the tone / the way in which. Am I making sense?

            PS been having trouble posting this – sorry if it ends up on here 5 times!

          • Caleb W

            If Mr. Driscoll publishes books meant to be read by the public then he is participating in public discourse. His books address the public and he intends them to speak with authority to the public. If he is dishonest about where his words and ideas come from in this public forum, then the problem is a public one.

          • Ivan Schoen

            Said it before me. Exactly!

    • Paula Coyle

      “Why do we keep giving this broken man so much attention, yet so little grace? ”

      Because he is very popular, he is a coercive bully and is teaching others to be bullies as well. He has systematically ousted elders who attempt to keep him in check, as elders are SUPPOSED to do. He has consolidated power, and this is not good FOR HIM as well as anyone who listens and follows him. This is done out of concern for him as well as his hearers.

      Please do your research before throwing your hat in the ring for the “poor beleaguered” pastor Driscoll. He also went after Justin Brierly in the Unbelievable podcast interview on 1-14-12 and Justin was not impolite in the least.

      Driscoll is a blatant hypocrite. Jesus had hard words for religious hypocrites, don’t you remember?

      • Evelyn

        “Because he is very popular, he is a coercive bully and is teaching others to be bullies as well. He has systematically ousted elders who attempt to keep him in check, as elders are SUPPOSED to do. He has consolidated power, and this is not good FOR HIM as well as anyone who listens and follows him. This is done out of concern for him as well as his hearers.”
        No doubt. Except that no one who ‘needs’ to hear the critiques actually appears to pay any attention – and they’re probably going to pay even less attention when those critiques are loaded with vitriol, anger and personal attack.
        I don’t think Driscoll is either “poor” or “beleaguered” – but I do take issue with the style of many of the attacks, even though the substance is sound. When people sound angry and hate-filled their otherwise valid remarks are all too easy to dismiss.
        Show me someone who’s not a hypocrite.

        • Ivan Schoen

          If the result is that no one ever listens to him or buys his book, fine.

  • David Elliott

    I didn’t even know who Mark Driscoll is…should I?

    • Paula Coyle

      Consider yourself blessed. However he is very influential so you should probably hold your nose and find out.

      • David

        I now know who he is! lol At least he’s attempting to espouse a more solid, traditional, evangelical Calvinism, instead of the totally bizarre crud that spews out of fundamentalist churches. However I disagree w/ much of what Driscoll professes, preaches. However I do love Jesus, just as he does!

    • Carl S

      Here’s a fairly good profile in the New York Times from 2009:
      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11punk-t.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2

  • ramus

    The problem is not with the obvious plagiarism but with what he actually quoted. The idea that those who tend towards a monistic view of the world and god are somehow evil. That is what everyone should be upset about. It’s churches like MD that are the problem with Christianity. In regards to the interview- I enjoy it when conservative Christians eat their own. Hilarious. I’m surprised MD did not ask if she was having her period.

    • Paula Coyle

      I think that was his way of asking that, frankly, but he knew that would be a bit too far and blow his obnoxious cover.

      I don’t have a problem with the content of what he was plagiarizing. It is unChristian to subscribe to Monism or pantheism or panentheism. But Driscoll undermines his own credibility by his behavior in so many areas, and it’s always someone else’s fault. As others have said, in dysfunctional systems, the one who points out the problem BECOMES the problem.

  • essexpostie

    Erm…wonder how many authors have made the same mistake.

    • Paula Coyle

      More than a “mistake” sir. It’s fairly deliberate.

    • John Smith

      All the ones who are silent and/or defend plagiarism.

  • Frank

    Considering everything belongs to God its kind of a joke when a Christian calls out plagerism.

    • Paula Coyle

      Uh So it’s a joke to call out sin because… everything belongs to God? How about when people steal your car? How about when preachers deceive little old ladies into donating their last red cent?

      • Frank

        Thoughts about God belong to God and anyone can use them freely. When man has an original thought then man can claim intellectual property.

        We do have plagerism laws which we need to follow but for a Christian to yell plagerism is nothing short of ignorance.

        Thievery is a sin. Sacrificial giving is a reflection of the heart. Neither has anything to do with cries of plagerism.

        • Doug

          You arguement is fatally flawed. God is the only one who can create something out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo) and because of that ievery creation – not just thoughts about Himself – belongs to him as the one true Creator. And if that is the arguement then plagiarism can never exist in any setting. But is that really the point?
          The standards of our orderly society state that taking written works from another individual without given them credit is unethical

          • Frank

            Speaking of a flawed argument.

            Any Christian who whines about plagiarism in ministry understand very little about the nature of information and ideas. If a writing is holy Spirt inspired then that writing belongs to God and therefore can be used by anyone serving Gods purposes.

          • Caleb W

            Please tell me that you are kidding.

          • Ivan Schoen

            Doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about.

          • Frank

            Thanks for admitting your own cluelessness with your comment. I guess we are to suffer fools gladly.

          • Ivan Schoen

            Frank, your intellect astounds me. Okay, back to your crayons.

          • Frank

            When you have something meaningful to say let me know. In the meantime I’ll focus on interacting with the adults.

          • Frank

            Please tell me that you are in school so I can have at least some hope of you learning something.

    • David C.

      Great. Except that Driscoll says on his website that no one can copy parts of his books or sermons without attribution and specifically condemns plagiarism. So please let Driscoll know about your defense of his actions and see if he approves.

      PS

      God creating spelling. So honor Him by learning how to do it.

      • Frank

        Only petty people, criticize spelling. Well done!

        I am not defending Driscoll. If he cries plagiarism he is just as wrong.

        • Ivan Schoen

          May we criticize punctuation?

          • Frank

            You can when you having nothing else cogent to say.

  • Paula Coyle

    Fourteen pages of Peter Jone’s material is an ‘oversight’? “Maybe* he made a mistake? How about the other stuff he’s lifted from D A Carson that she found in the days following? How much more plagiarism is out there? Does it not strike you as odd or wrong that this pastor is getting rich selling books that are in places not his own work, and that he has systematically ousted any elders in his organization that have tried to hold him accountable? Cut him slack? Cut his critics some slack. God raises up people to keep pastors in check, they should not diss them the way he dissed Janet and treated her with sickening holier than thou condescension.

    • Delight Knapp

      If it was truly an issue, it is his publisher’s issue, not Driscolls…it is the publishers job to find these mistakes. That’s why you have a publisher!

      • DonHz

        Delight, nothing could be further from the truth. It is always the responsibility of the author to properly cite material and get copyright clearance when required. There is no way a publisher can identify plagiarism from a wide range of materials. In fact, virtually all book contracts contain language that indemnifies publishers from such misdeeds by authors.

  • John W. Morehead

    Plagiarism is a huge problem, even in Evangelicalism. This is indeed a matter between the two authors and their publishers, but since both are public figures this is also a matter for public commentary, done responsibly of course. But you are correct that Driscoll has been used to generate controversy and ratings. Perhaps this incident can be used to teach us all humility, from an outspoken and confrontational pastor in Washington, to a radio talk show host.

  • David C.

    It is pretty obvious that Driscoll lied in his interview with Mefferd. He said he wasn’t aware of any copying, but that it could have been a mistake, as where an intended footnote got lost in the drafting process. But now Mefferd has found other examples of word-for-word copying, involving other books. So it is clearly not a case of an inadvertently dropped footnote in the drafting process for one book. He lied. Christian Piatt ignores that and instead attacks Mefferd.

    Shame on you Christian Piatt. How is it that you are able to teach your children right from wrong when you are an apologist for theft and lies?

  • Tom

    What was the attitude to plagiarism in the early church? Whenever I read anything from that time period they seem to be fine with borrowing from each other in terms of ‘big ideas’, same could be said with most of Christianity up until 19th Century. Even word for word copies go without mention or concern. Not just books either, hymns, liturgy, etc.

    Did the worry about plagiarism in the church originate before the modern era? I can’t seem to find it before then. Isn’t it just a sign of how consumerism and commercialism has crept in to the church? “No! YOU can’t say that in your book, that’s MY idea, it belongs to me.”, “I wrote that hymn! You can’t sing it unless you pay me royalites!”.

    • Bob Jones

      Not sure, but you may want to consider that Driscoll has threatened Lawsuits against churches across the US who have used the name “Mars Hill”. Those issues were “resolved”, but I think his bent to defend his legal “rights” to the name “Mars Hill” which is used in the Bible is informative to this matter.

      • Tom

        Not really. I would say Mars Hill Seattle was wrong to do that (although if another church uses decided to use the same churche name, logo, etc. as us I might write to them to ask why and if they were worried about causing confusion).
        Either way, I wouldn’t then assume that I must treat them in the same way. Do to others as you would have them treat you. Not as you think they deserve!

    • Charloch

      I agree. Big ideas belong to God. Indeed all truth belongs to God. IP in the ecclesiastical realm is an egregious fallacy which puffs up the ego of man. Authors give the glory to God then in the same breath say you must give me credit too. Ditto copyright for Bible translations. Who gave the Word and who gave the gift of languages by which that Word might be translated? Crossway? Tyndale House? Nelson? Are they any better than the money lenders in the Temple? Profiting from the worship of God.

      • Frank

        Well said!

      • Tom

        We need a copyright free Modern English language Bible ASAP!

        • Martin Browne

          The NET is copyright free.

  • david

    Ms Mefferd may have belabored the point but Driscolls response wasn’t helping the interview move forward. I actually thought he might cry for a moment. Funny that such a tough guy comes unravelled whenever anyone dares ask him a challenging question. Marks mouth is what gave him the platform he has now and will likely be what leads his downfall.

  • Delight Knapp

    Thank you Christian Piatt for your graciousness; something that does not seem to be present in most of the comments below. It is obvious that Mefford was “out to get” Driscoll, and kept hounding even after he answered the questions. He said he would check into the matter. She should have left it there…..it is really none of her business. She has lost my respect. The issue is with Mark, Jones,and most importantly the publishing company whos job it is to make sure that credit is properly given etc etc….that is what publishers make sure of!!! (Have any of you ever been through and editing process with a publisher????)

  • Ivan Schoen

    Driscoll deserves nothing. Why bother with him? Leave him to his Neo-Calvinism ghetto.

  • Mike

    I fail to see how you are being generous by falsely accusing Mefferd of conducting a witch hunt when all she’s has done is point out accurately that Driscoll is a plagiarist.

  • truther

    My husband and I eagerly listened to the interview with Janet Mefford expecting to witness Driscoll’s usual blunders. While we are typically appalled by Driscoll’s behaviour and many of his teachings, we are aware that something was not right about the nature of the interview with him on this subject. It did appear that Janet was leaning toward controversy, and humiliating Driscoll in his obvious wrong-doing. She pressed him continually, probably expecting him to set him off by pushing his buttons. As I listened to the interview I waited eagerly for the point where Driscoll would erupt with some bombastic and incriminating statement, but it never happened.

    Driscoll’s wrong-doing here is clearly obvious and exceedingly embarrassing for him whether he admits it or not. I would count myself as one of the first to advocate for accountability from this vagabond preacher, but I believe that the manner in which he was treated on the show was not appropriate—it might have carried the sentiment of justice for some, though it reeked of unkindness, and was absolutely absent of humility. I have to ask if this was the right means in which to address Driscoll’s wrong, or if it was just an easy way to back a blatantly guilty man into the corner. Even if he is wrong, and he is to account, we should not be callous, nor should we revel in it.

  • John Smith

    Jesus had regular run-ins with the Pharisees because they applied applied one standard for their life and another for everyone else. So, as information comes out, I would quote Driscoll’s website and apply his standard to his own work.

    He writes, http://marshill.com/creativecommons

    “UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN WE USE CONTENT WE FIND ON THE SITE?
    You may use and share, through social media websites, sermons, articles, blogs, and other material purposely made available by Mars Hill for downloading from the Site, as long as you (1) do not remove any proprietary notice language included on, or incorporated into, the material, (2) use the material only for your personal, non-commercial informational purpose and, except to share through social media websites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.), do not copy or post the material on any networked computer or broadcast it in any media, (3) make no cuts or modifications to any material or make any derivative works from any materials and (4) not make any additional representations or warranties relating to the material.

    IF I USE MATERIAL FROM ONE OF PASTOR MARK’S SERMON’S DO I NEED TO CITE HIM AS THE SOURCE OF THAT MATERIAL?
    Yes. If you don’t cite him, you are plagiarizing. If you use content from one of Pastor Mark’s sermons or from one of his books, you need to attribute the content (whether it is a quote or paraphrase) to Pastor Mark. Also, even though we make transcripts available of our sermons, this does not mean you can take the transcript and deliver the sermon as though it is your own. This too is plagiarism.

    The same answer applies to your use of sermon content from any other pastors and any of our blog posts.

    WHAT IF I WANT TO EDIT ONE OF THE SERMONS I FOUND ON THE SITE AND INCLUDE A CLIP OF IT ON A WEBSITE THAT I OWN OR MAINTAIN OR AS PART OF A MINISTRY. IS THAT ACCEPTABLE?
    No. You are not allowed to edit any of the content found on the Site. This includes sermons and blogs. If we have released a clip of a sermon, you can use that clip.”

    Okay, so know we know how Driscoll applies the standard of plagiarism to others, lets look at what he teaches to be the consequence. In his book, Vintage Church, Driscoll speaks out against preachers who plagiarize other pastor’s sermon materials.

    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. (Vintage Church, Driscoll, p. 105)

    Hmmm… I wonder if this applies to writers?

    • MommyMitzi

      I think as long as you have dinner with Driscoll at some point, then you’re free to plagiarize however you want, ‘cuz, you know, that would indicate how great friends you are and then all is OK. I mean, that’s basically what he said in the Mefferd interview, right?

  • John Smith

    Jesus had regular run-ins with the Pharisees because they applied applied one standard for their life and another for everyone else. So, as information comes out, I would quote Driscoll’s website and apply his standard to his own work.

    (NOTE: I would post the link, but it appears they are not letting my comment go through with a link, so you can Google the Mars Hill Church website to find the following copyright materials.)

    “UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES CAN WE USE CONTENT WE FIND ON THE SITE?
    You may use and share, through social media websites, sermons, articles, blogs, and other material purposely made available by Mars Hill for downloading from the Site, as long as you (1) do not remove any proprietary notice language included on, or incorporated into, the material, (2) use the material only for your personal, non-commercial informational purpose and, except to share through social media websites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, etc.), do not copy or post the material on any networked computer or broadcast it in any media, (3) make no cuts or modifications to any material or make any derivative works from any materials and (4) not make any additional representations or warranties relating to the material.

    IF I USE MATERIAL FROM ONE OF PASTOR MARK’S SERMON’S DO I NEED TO CITE HIM AS THE SOURCE OF THAT MATERIAL?
    Yes. If you don’t cite him, you are plagiarizing. If you use content from one of Pastor Mark’s sermons or from one of his books, you need to attribute the content (whether it is a quote or paraphrase) to Pastor Mark. Also, even though we make transcripts available of our sermons, this does not mean you can take the transcript and deliver the sermon as though it is your own. This too is plagiarism.

    The same answer applies to your use of sermon content from any other pastors and any of our blog posts.

    WHAT IF I WANT TO EDIT ONE OF THE SERMONS I FOUND ON THE SITE AND INCLUDE A CLIP OF IT ON A WEBSITE THAT I OWN OR MAINTAIN OR AS PART OF A MINISTRY. IS THAT ACCEPTABLE?
    No. You are not allowed to edit any of the content found on the Site. This includes sermons and blogs. If we have released a clip of a sermon, you can use that clip.”

    Okay, so know we know how Driscoll applies the standard of plagiarism to others, lets look at what he teaches to be the consequence. In his book, Vintage Church, Driscoll speaks out against preachers who plagiarize other pastor’s sermon materials.

    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. (Vintage Church, Driscoll, p. 105)

    Hmmm… I wonder if this applies to writers?

  • Mr. Truth

    You crazy fundamentalistic “progressive” christians and your sprcial relationship with Marc Driscol…

    Why not admitt: you have a gay love for Marc?

  • Mark Gammon

    I’m afraid this matter isn’t about only Driscoll, Jones, and their respective publishers. I teach theology at the undergraduate level, and the battle against intellectual dishonesty is constant, ongoing, time consuming, and emotionally draining. For every celebrity writer who plagiarizes, especially those who never own up to it, my job gets that much more difficult. Students think that if someone like Driscoll can do it, then why can’t they? They start to think it is no big deal.

    I will at least put it this way: looking at just one of the examples, it was enough for Driscoll to have failed one of my classes outright.

    Perhaps we should show some grace here, but until there is confession, I don’t feel particularly inclined to do so. Driscoll’s ministry of “real masculinity” is so aggressive, hostile, and often unforgiving that he needs to earn it a little from me. I’m not God; I demand an apology. It is bad theology and bad exegesis. The least he can do is do the work himself.

  • Rachel Heston-Davis

    I tend to agree with you that Mefferd carried the point too far. I just want to play Devil’s Advocate for a second, even though I think your article was very well-written and rightly called for level-headedness, compassion, and truth in the midst of a confusing situation.

    However, when you listen to the interview, it seems that Mefferd kept pressing the point precisely because Driscoll kept trying to “have the last word,” accuse her of having bad motives, etc. Every time he offered an apology, he affixed an explanation at the end of why he thought she was behaving improperly. Should she have accepted his attitude with grace and quit pressing it? Probably. But honestly, he was behaving pretty badly and adding fuel to the fire as well.

    Also, we have to remember that Driscoll’s people contacted Mefferd’s show to ask if he could be interviewed. Mefferd agreed, with the explanation that she would have to ask hard questions. He knew that up front, yet he not only acted defensive/got a bad attitude when she did exactly what she said she’d do, but he tried to make it sound like he was doing her a favor.

    So, you’re right that no one deserves to be railroaded, but if you ask me, the two of them honestly deserved each other in that segement and I don’t feel too sorry for either one.

  • http://www.registeredrunaway.com/ Benjamin Moberg

    “Mark Driscoll deserves better.” This statement will now haunt me.

  • Dennis

    Mars Hill Church might have a little difficulty filling this current job opening of Staff Writer! http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?id=8ad64ec641adc69a0141cdc8ed0d1b3d&source=Indeed&source=Indeed

  • jimmykinkade

    Mark Driscoll plagiarizes the Bible all the time.