Zombies, Plagiarism And Mark Driscoll Helped Me Write This Blog Post

First, let me thank Mark Driscoll for his help writing this blog post and give him full credit for inspiring the title.

With all of the allegations of plagiarism and controversy swirling around Mark Driscoll on social media, it is nice that Driscoll can take time to teach us all how to write better blog posts.

I am referring to his article yesterday titled “6 Simple Ways To Write Better Blog Posts.” You’ll have to read it to understand why my title was inspired by Driscoll. I want to give credit where credit is due.

(Did my lead get your attention? See point #3 – “Grab attention with your lead”)

On the same day Janet Mefferd revealed two more books by Driscoll which appear to include content without credit to the original author, Driscoll offers bloggers advice on how to get their message out. Since I am a blogger and I want to write better blog posts, I thought I should check it out.

Have A Tasty Bite Of Blog

After a juicy title, Driscoll suggests that bloggers write in “bite-sized chunks.” Ok, good thought.

I have to say that I lolled (laughed out loud) when I saw Driscoll’s blog post. Even if adventitious, the article still comes across as a clever rejoinder to the controversy over plagiarism, in an in-your-face sort of way. In the post, he touts his writing background and education at Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. His reference to his education made me wonder if WSU had any guidelines about citation of sources. And you know, they do. Intentional plagiarism is described as:

  • copying entire documents and presenting them as your own;
  • cutting and pasting from the work of others without properly citing the authors;
  • stringing together the quotes and ideas of others without connecting their work to your own original work;
  • asserting ideas without acknowledging their sources, reproducing sentences written verbatim by others without properly quoting and attributing the work to them;
  • making only minor changes to the words or phrasing of another’s work, without properly citing the authors.

According to the university website, one may also engage in “accidental appropriation of the ideas and materials of others due to a lack of understanding of the conventions of citation and documentation.”  Let’s review. Driscoll included entire passages from the New Bible Commentary in his book on 1 & 2 Peter without citation (see point #6, Show and Tell below). There are uses of other author’s ideas without proper citation which have surfaced. By the standards of his own school, the situation doesn’t look so good.

Social Media Calls People To Action!

In his blog post, Driscoll suggests using social media to get the post exposure (ok, will do) and to call people to action. I am struggling with the call to action. On social media, many have called on Driscoll to acknowledge the issues and correct them. That sounds like a good call to action.

Show and Tell Shows and Tells

And then finally, Driscoll suggests using pictures to get across the message. Here’s one with a side by side comparison of the New Bible Commentary and Driscoll’s book on 1 & 2 Peter.

As Rev. Driscoll says, “You cannot just tell; you have to show whenever you can.”*

*From Driscoll, M. (2013, December 2). 6 Simple Ways To Write Better Blog Posts. The Resurgence.com.

See also:

On The Allegations of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll (12/2/13)

ORU Icon Contradicts David Barton’s Basketball Stories
David Barton on Real Life with Jack Hibbs: Did the University of Virginia Have Chaplains?
Note to Evangelical Culture Warriors and Pastor Tullian Tchividjian from Benjamin Rush
What Really Happened In the Settlement of David Barton’s Defamation Suit?
  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    I loved this part, Warren: “Trolls quickly learned that negativity goes far and fast online—especially if you include the name of someone well-known, because you are stealing their Google juice.”

    So everyone who uses Driscoll’s name in their title is stealing his Google juice from him. Get that folks? You’re stealing from Mark Driscoll! Stop that!

    The real irony, though, is this announcement: “I’ve taken on editorial duties at Resurgence, at least for a season. This means I’m reviewing nearly every blog article before we post it and giving content feedback in an effort to help our writers get their message out even further.”

    So he’s not reviewing articles for journalistic integrity, but to improve marketing. Wow, that says volumes.

    Cheers,
    Tim

    • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

      You’re snarky attitude needs adjustment. You falsely accused Driscoll of saying (in another post) that he wants people just to blindly accept his teaching without searching scripture. You need to deal with your own problems of bearing false witness (Ex. 20:16).

      • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

        Thanks, John!

        • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

          I’ve heard quit a bit of Driscoll and it’s inconceivable that he would say such a thing. So, yes, I believe you are lying, breaking the 9th commandment by bearing false witness (Ex. 20:16), and you need to repent. Believe it or not, there actually is a requirement that your accusations be true.

          • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

            Thanks, John!

          • Tom Van Dyke

            True, Driscoll wouldn’t say that. These people kick a man when he’s down and pile on the slime.

            You falsely accused Driscoll of saying (in another post) that he wants people just to blindly accept his teaching without searching scripture.

            Yes, I saw that.

            That said, Mr. Carpenter, Mefferd and Throckmorton have Driscoll dead to rights–there is no defense on the word-for-word plagiarism charge. He did it, and he has to man up on this.

            Of course, Dr. Martin Luther King plagiarized part of his doctoral thesis and Joe Biden plagiarized his own life story from an English politician named Neil Kinnock.

            Driscoll will get no such slack.

          • Oswald Carnes

            That’s just what an anti-American dominionist like yourself would say.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            Is namecalling the best you got? Kinda proving my point.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            I agree that the commentary stuff is probably plagiarism. Giving the benefit of the doubt would mean believing that probably he (or an assistant) forgot to put in a citation.
            It’s only two short paragraphs in a book I’ve never heard of. But he should correct it somehow.

          • Huskersuck

            So, again, dishonesty and deceit is OK because we think that someone else may have done it.

            Lower the bar instead of hold our hero to a biblical standard.

          • Tom Van Dyke

            Not feeling the Christian love in your attack here, Brother “Huckersuck.” Perhaps if you signed your real name, stood up as a man and a Christian, your attacks on your fellow Christians would have meaning.

            Otherwise, no.

            Nice blog you have going here, Warren. Even better than your last one. Keep up the good work.

          • ken

            No this is just Tom’s attempt to divert the discussion away from the topic to something (or someone) else. It is a standard tactic he uses.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            You said, Driscoll has “plainly plagiarized repeatedly by any objective standard”.

            If we grant the 1 Peter commentary case, what are the other examples?

            The similar ideas from Jones are certainly not “plainly” plagiarized.

            So, it appears you are guilty of dishonestly and deceitfully making accusations. Should we lower the bar and not hold you to a Biblical standard?

          • Huskersuck

            I have seen this John Carpenter fellow on several sites pushing the same stuff about Driscoll. A few things I want to point out.

            1. His style of argumentation is fairly common. The problem is not the problem, but the person pointing out the problem is in fact the problem. The old shoot the messenger thing.

            2. I have seen a lot of this type of argumentation on political sites where hard core partisans are arguing for their political POV or preferred politician. Anyone who disagrees with them has a personal problem, regardless of the principle, and is hateful, mean spirited, etc. In the end, it’s borne of arrogance in that the only good, moral conclusion is the same one he has. All others must have come through bad motives and questionable methods, and have secret agendas.

            3. Driscoll has plainly plagiarized repeatedly by any objective standard. Only a hard core partisan/tool(common speak, I know) would deny that or argue that point.

            4. Driscoll said any pastor plagiarizing should quit their job.

            5. There is no objective way to argue that Driscoll should not step down, otherwise he is not only guilty of plagiarism which is deceit/dishonesty, but also hypocrisy. He is not above reproach.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            #1 & 2 are merely your attempt at a pseudo-intellectual insult. Two brief paragraphs without citation is a problem that Driscoll should correct but it is not substantial plagiarism. However, spending large amounts of one’s time going on witch-hunts against otherwise orthodox and faithful pastors, is a very significant problem. I realize you want to ignore THAT problem (because it’s yours) but you should deal with it.

            #3 is simply false. The only plain case of plagiarism is apparently that of the commentary. Unless you have something new, there is no “repeatedly” and therefore your statement is factually untrue by any objective standard and only a hard core (anti-Driscoll) partisan/tool would deny or argue that point.

            #4. I would assume he meant intentionally.

            #5. There is no objective way to argue that you have a groundless hatred of Driscoll, thus violating the command to love one another and the 9th commandment not to bear false witness. If you are a pastor, you should step down since you are not above reproach. Unless, maybe, you want to start trying some of that “believes all things, hopes all things”, stuff?

          • mcbalz

            “It’s not substantial plagiarism.” BWAHAHAHA.

            John Carpenter, (a) you appear not to understand what plagiarism is, and (b) you appear to countenance unethical behavior. That’s shameful, but especially for a Christian and a believer.

            Plagiarism is unthetical and slimey. It is instantly evident in any passage where a verbatim sequence of identical words and equivalent phrases are used among two sources.

            The intentionality of his plagiarism is evident in the fact that the passage is extended and that the words of the prior published work appear without quotation marks or citation in Driscoll’s work.

      • KR Taylor

        “What does that mean in the Greek, Pas­tor Mark?” You can always tell
        a rebel­lious evan­gel­i­cal. They do word stud­ies. They try to go to
        the Greek and fig­ure out if it per­haps means some­thing else. I’ll
        just read, OK.”

        http://coolingtwilight.com/mark-driscoll-doesnt-want-you-to-study-the-bible/

        I am a “rebellious evangelical”. I do word studies, whether Marky Mark likes it or not.

        • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

          Someone else on the other thread pretty much destroyed the argument that that is saying that everyone who does word studies is a “rebellious evangelical.”
          It’s like reasoning:
          All liars breathe. Driscoll breathes. Therefore Driscoll is a liar.
          Logic doesn’t work like that.
          And the truth is that there are a lot of people who use “word studies” to avoid the real meaning of the text. They abound in controversial issues like the role of women in the church/family and homosexuality.

          • KR Taylor

            The phrase “rebellious evangelical” is a direct Driscoll quote, that refers to people who take it upon themselves to dig into the Word without his guidance and direction – or rather, dictation to them – of what it all means.

            I can’t figure out if you’re satire, or if you really do revere Driscoll so much that you turn a blind eye to all things that aren’t praise-worthy.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            I can’t figure out if you don’t know logic or you are so obsessed with slimeing Driscoll that you’re desperate to find something to condemn.

            The quote you present from Driscoll is accurate, as I describe above. The only thing you’ve proved is that you’re looking for grist for your mill.

          • KR Taylor

            No one needs desperation to find something to condemn with Driscoll. He hands it out like Halloween candy.

            Your fandom is precious. Keep up the good work. :)

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            And yet this is the best you can do: two short paragraphs lacking a citation.
            Thanks for clearing up any doubt that you have a visceral — and fundamentally unChristian — detestation of the man.

  • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

    from wikipedia:

    “A young Helen Keller was accused in 1892 of plagiarizing Margaret T. Canby’s story The Frost Fairies in her short story The Frost King. She was brought before a tribunal of the Perkins Institute for the Blind, where she was acquitted by a single vote. She said she was worried she may have read The Frost Fairies and forgotten it, “remained paranoid about plagiarism ever after” and said that this led her to write an autobiography: the one thing she knew must be original.”

    Now, I wonder how many of you, so quick to condemn Driscoll, also want to condemn Helen Keller?

    • Warren Throckmorton

      John – My show and tell item above (New Bible Commentary) is significantly different than Helen Keller’s lapse of source memory, don’t you think?

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

        Yes, you’re right. Keller alleged plagiarized a whole short story and Driscoll allegedly only two short paragraphs. So, I guess you mean that Driscoll is ok but you really are condemning Keller. Is that what you’re saying?

        (except I’m puzzled about why you seem to give Keller the benefit of the doubt — “lapse of source memory”. why?)

        • ken

          No, I’m pretty sure that what Warren means that Helen Keller was a 10 year old girl who may not have even understood what plagiarism is, while Driscoll is a 40 year old man who has a web site that admonishes others not to plagiarize his work.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            At this point I’m pretty sure that you are willfully refusing to accept the idea that people can absorb material and then reproduce it later, thinking it is their own. The only reason I can guess why you’d be so unwilling to accept that is that you’re dead set on condemning someone you’ve already decided you don’t like.

      • melekish

        Mr. Throckmorton, I think Mr. Carpenter is too stubborn and arrogrant to hear about anything, please just don’t waste your time anymore to try to get him to understand….. save it for your family or someone important…

        • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

          It’s that kind of insulting, condemning, unChristian attitude that seems to be prevalent among those who are so eager to find something to accuse Driscoll of.

  • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

    Some people internalize what they’ve read or heard and it comes out in their sermons or articles. That’s not necessarily plagiarism. They may honestly not remember where they heard or read it. Helen Keller was accused of plagiarism because of something she heard as a little girl that she later reproduced, without knowing it, as an adult.

    • $2268610

      There’s a perfect example of this in the song Hello, Dolly!. When the show opened, Jerry Hermann was sued by someone who wrote a song entitled My Sunshine. Hermann realized that he must have heard the older song when he was a boy, forgotten it, then ‘remembered’ it when he was writing the later song. He did not collect one penny of royalties from that song because he thought it would be stealing another writer’s work. That’s what ethical people do when confronted with proof.

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

        I agree with that. I don’t think there is much to the supposed plaigarism of Dr. Jones. Driscoll apparently learned from him and presented those ideas in his own words. The commentary situation is more substantial. I’m prepared to give Driscoll the benefit of the doubt but he’ll need to do something to ex post facto credit the commentary or even compensate them.

  • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

    I believe the standards for what makes for “plagiarism” differ according to genre of the communication. Formal academic writing requires the strictest citing of sources. Informal speaking the least. Sermons and popular level books are somewhere in between.

    • Caleb Giddings

      Copying from another work literally word for word is definitely plagiarism. Or to put it in simple terms, it’s stealing.

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

        Plagiarism would only be stealing if it results in a loss of property or some good to the original author. Otherwise, it’s lying, which is bad enough.

        The question here, though, is whether that is what Driscoll did or was it the regurgitation of something he had earlier assimilated or simple forgetfulness. Having written a doctoral dissertation, the hardest thing was making sure everything was properly cited.

        • Warren Throckmorton

          Whatever plagiarism is, Driscoll’s alma mater defines it for us as I have noted. Whether purposeful or inadvertent, the deed should be acknowledged and repaired, don’t you agree?

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            Yes, I do agree. And, as elsewhere, I strongly agree with myself that you have far, far greater problems to be dealing with, not the least of which is why you’d spend so much time on this.

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

        For something to be “plagiarism” in the kind of non-academic books Driscoll produces, it would have to be strictly word-for-word copying of a substantial section (at least several sentences) which show that it’s not just coincidental similarity of expressions writing about similar subjects but could only be explained by the writers intentionally copying from a source open to him without giving credit. I don’t know if that’s what has been proven.The material based on Jones is not that close as to be strictly plagiarized. The commentary material, perhaps, although it is only two short paragraphs. These should have been cited.

        • Caleb Giddings

          Dude, no. They teach small children that plagiarism is stealing. See this link: http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/school/plagiarism.html

          It’s stealing another person’s ideas and passing them off as your own. That’s very bad. I’ve been a professional writer for almost 10 years and I’ve never accidentally copied whole paragraphs of someone else’s work literally word for word because I remembered it.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            Dude, I know that’s said a lot — “plagiarism is stealing” — but stealing is the taking of someone else’s property. Ideas aren’t necessarily property; they can turn into property, if, for example, someone buys the plagiarizer’s book instead of the original. Otherwise, it’s lying, although that’s bad enough.
            Maybe your memory isn’t good enough. Neither is mine. Helen Keller apparently assimilated a whole short story. Driscoll can give a half-dozen hour long, content-full lectures with no notes in a 24 hour period. It takes a remarkable memory to do that. I can’t.

          • $2268610

            As a professional writer I have had my work plagiarized. It is stealing. It did me great monetary damage. Trouble is that it’s hard to prove, costly to prosecute and more often than not ends in a physic victory if any victory at all.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            You mean a “pyrrhic victory”.
            A “physic victory” would be one having to do with the laws of physics.

          • $2268610

            I do indeed mean pyrrhic. Damn you, auto-correct.

          • Caleb Giddings

            I’m a writer. My ideas and my words are absolutely my property, or the property of my publisher. Using those without my consent or proper citation is absolutely stealing.

          • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

            Everything you learned you learned from someone else. So, to be consistent, please go back through everything you’ve ever written, beginning with the post above, and credit every word to the teacher or book you learned it from. Don’t forget your name — which, I guess, comes from your parents. You wouldn’t want to “steal” from them.
            I stand by my reasoning above.

    • CanIbeFrank

      John–Well, let’s just see what the various universities, publishers, authors and Driscoll himself say about plagiarism. This article sums it all up very nicely: http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/11/29/mark-driscoll-and-d-a-carson-believe-pastors-who-plagiarize-should-resign/

      • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

        You’re assuming it wasn’t a mistake. That assumption is sinful.

  • bluetah

    I say, “ask not what your blog can do for you, but what you can do for your blog” hmm seems familiar but i am sure I thought of it……..

    • ken

      Ich bin Blogger.

  • CanIbeFrank

    Hmmmm. Which is these is most likely true. John Carpenter is:
    A) a pseudonym for Mark Driscoll
    B) a paid shill for Mark Driscoll
    C) on staff at Mars Hill (as an “executive” pastor, perhaps?)
    D) one of the researchers/ghostwriters who Driscoll uses who’s now rather
    worried about his job

    • http://www.covenantcaswell.org/ John Carpenter

      or
      E) an intelligent chap who lives in North Carolina who has never met with Mark Driscoll or is in any way associated with him but is making keen observations on an ethical issue he obviously knows something about;
      F) none of the above.

  • Joe Fisher

    Dr. Throckmorton, One of your former students here. I think something that is getting lost here is that the “book” on I and II Peter was not a book at all. It was a study guide for community groups at Mars Hill for the sermon series on I/II Peter. Although, he should have cited better, this was not a published book.

    • Warren Throckmorton

      Hi Joe: One reason it might be getting lost is that the document seems to be somewhere between a published book and an internal document. One can buy it on Amazon for instance (http://www.amazon.com/Trial-Witnesses-Peter-Study-Guide/dp/B002D9O3NG) and Logos (https://www.logos.com/product/4926/trial-8-witnesses-from-1-and-2-peter). The book would be considered self-published in the sense that Mars Hill published it.

      • Joe Fisher

        Interesting I didn’t know it was available there. That explains why you can’t get it off their website anymore, unless they removed it recently.

      • Joe Fisher

        It is also interesting from a media evolution perspective now that there are ways to circumvent traditional publishing avenues.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Warren , your post here has been reproduced in its entirety without attribution: http://business-web-information.edu.tf/mirror-nmb/zombies-plagiarism-and-mark-driscoll-helped-me-write-this-blog-post-patheos-blog-blog-google-news/

    The irony is thick! (Sad, but thick.)

  • klassieprof

    The Links to Janet’s blog have been disabled. She started the controversy, now she is in the cover-up of it?

  • CanIbeFrank

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