Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy

Coming from Julie Anne at Spiritual Sounding Board:

Schlueter’s comment is as follows:

I was a part-time, topic producer for Janet Mefferd until yesterday when I resigned over this situation. All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.

She added later in the thread:

I’ve read much speculation online, which is understandable given the confusing situation, most of it dead wrong. Being limited in what I can share, let me just say that truth tellers face multiple pressure sources these days. I hosted a radio show for 23 years and know from experience how Big Publishing protects its celebrities. Anything but fawning adulation for those who come on your show (a gift of free air time for the author/publisher by the way) is not taken well. Like Dr. Carl Trueman so aptly asked yesterday in his column at Reformation 21, does honest journalism have any role to play in evangelicalism now? (It was rhetorical.) My own take on that question is, no, it does not. The moment hard questions are asked, the negative focus goes on the questioner, not the celebrity, when there is something that needs scrutiny. Those who have the temerity to call out a celebrity have tremendous courage. The easiest thing in the world is to do fluffy interviews with fluffy guests on fluffy books. So hats off to those like Janet who have the courage to ask at all. And my own opinion on Mr. Driscoll is that despite the bravado, despite the near silence of his Reformed peers and enablers, his brand is damaged, and damaged by his own hand.

To follow the conversation, go on over to Spiritual Sounding Board.

Earlier today, I asked Janet Mefferd for an interview regarding her statement yesterday. In an email, she declined to comment.

UPDATE: The comments have now been removed with comment from Julie Ann at Spiritual Sounding Board.

Here is another side-by-side comparison of material from Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1&2 Peter and New Bible Commentary. This image contains different material from what I posted earlier this week.

See also:

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

Zombies, Plagiarism And Mark Driscoll Helped Me Write This Blog Post (12/3/13)

Mark Driscoll And His Church On Plagiarism (12/4/13)

Janet Mefferd Removes Evidence Relating To Charges Of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll; Apologizes To Audience (12/4/13)

Mark Driscoll Accused Of Plagiarism By Radio Host (Religion News Service)

More Allegations Of Plagiarism Surface Against Mark Driscoll (Religion News Service)

About That Resurgence Auction Mark Driscoll Won
New Website is "One-Stop Resource" on Mars Hill Church RICO Lawsuit, Global Fund and Result Source
Jerusalem Post Chides Mike Huckabee for Holocaust Analogy
John Piper on Mark Driscoll and Satan's Win in Seattle
  • MWorrell

    So now it’s a conspiracy by big publishing to hide the truth rather than an appalling error in judgment by Mefferd and her producer in how they handled it… including stirring the pot by bringing talk of lawsuits into the discussion on the air. There is no place for “gotcha” journalism in God’s kingdom. There were many ways this could have been handled ethically and responsibly without a public ambush. In a case of plagiarism, guilt is a demonstrable matter of record and only needs to be pointed out. Schlueter might be well advised to take a few days in private before making more public remarks.

    • Warren Throckmorton

      Well, apparently her comments raised some eyebrows somewhere because they are now gone.

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

        Or maybe she honesty believed she was wrong. Ever consider that, instead of implying there is some kind of conspiracy?

    • kdbrich

      One should question why no one is questioning Driscoll? Why is he so silent on it? Even if you disagree with the way Mefferd handled it, one must question the legitimacy of her claims.

      • BeefOhBrady

        It’s easier to attack the questioner.

      • Dirtbeard

        I would expect Driscoll to remain out of it. It’s for his publisher to address.

        • Alan

          A man whose whole vocation is dependent on his integrity should not leave defense of his integrity to his “publishers” who are a for profit organization. I would think he would want to defend his own integrity with some kind of statement no matter how short.

          • Dirtbeard

            Opinions, we all have them. Neither Carson nor Driscoll adressed it, and that makes sense to me.

          • Guest

            Probably because people like you wouldn’t believe him. If he makes a statement personally, you’ll scoff at him. If the publishers say his writings meet industry standards of citing sources, you still condemn him.

          • Alan

            Hey John,
            No I would not scoff at him if he gave a valid answer. And per another post to me, it is my business since we carry his books in our bookstore…at least right now…Why you judge me so I do not know since you do not know me. I really wish you would have addressed your perceived problem with me in a more private manner as per Matt. 18 from now on please. If I could have a priavte way to address you I would like to invoke Matt. 18 , but i need a way to contact you…email?

          • Guest

            Frankly, I don’t believe you. When his publisher comes out and says that the use of Jones’ material, etc., is according to “industry standards” and you don’t give any credit for that, then that’s a problem. I believe if Driscoll were to make a statement you’d just say, “He’s being self-serving.”
            What you’ve said, you’ve said publicly so it can be addressed publicly. But we don’t know if Driscoll has done anything sinful. Failing to cite a source is a sin if it was done intentionally. If it wasn’t intentional, then it’s not a sin and it’s really just not your business.

          • Alan

            John, I am an elder of a church and you are the only one making an accusation against me. You have accused me of lying publicly and i wish you would give the same respect you want for Mark D. Also you should approach me according to Matt 18. You have called me a liar per above, in public I might add. if you have no hard evidence i would like a public apoligy for this rebellious spirit you have against an elder of a local church.

    • Simple Man

      Plagiarism has been clearly pointed out, so where are the apologies?

      • Dirtbeard

        If plagiarism was that clear, why are the publishers and those who were allegedly plagiarized not sounding off? Given Ingrid’s track record it’s most likely a witch hunt.

        • Simple Man

          Did you review the material which was posted on Mefford’s site?

          • Dirtbeard

            Not thoroughly. My point was not to defend Driscoll, just to say that if the plagiarism was that obvious, things would not have played out the way they did.

          • Simple Man

            That is what you might think…

          • Dirtbeard

            I’m not buying this publishing house conspiracy, it’ll all play out among the characters who are truly affected. The rest of them will move on to another “controversy.”

          • http://www.ericpazdziora.com/ Eric

            The plagiarism is obvious enough that even Mr. John Carpenter, a rabid commenter who spends a lot of his time making personal attacks on anyone who dares to say anything negative about Driscoll, admitted in a previous comment thread, and I quote, “I agree that the commentary stuff is probably plagiarism.”

            Seriously, if you look at it, it’s word for word; he even copied the footnotes as though they were his own research. Then refer to the previous post regarding Driscoll’s own statements about how sinful plagiarism is, and you’ll see the problem.

          • Dirtbeard

            As I said elsewhere, if it is plagiarism it’ll play out among the affected parties.

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

            The alleged plagiarism of two brief paragraphs from a commentary of 1 Peter is more substantial. However, the publication in which it apparently 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 should be corrected but until evidence is forth-coming that it was intentional plagiarism, to treat this as though it is a great moral failure is absurd.

        • Paula Coyle

          Because they will lose money and make Christians look bad. can’t have any of that, you know. Gotta follow the same road the Roman Catholic church did. Hide, obfuscate, shuffle the deck.

          • Dirtbeard

            I’s not that simple if publishing house truly believes one of their authors plagiarized.

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

        He said in the interview that if he made a mistake then he apologizes. Your statement only makes sense if you assume that Driscoll did it intentionally.

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

      A wise post from you. Thanks for it.
      As for Driscoll, so far this issue is only about what may only be a mistake about a lack of citation in what was little more than an internal study guide.
      The real issue this brings up is the number of people salivating at the chance to smear a pastor.

  • Shawn Nickerson

    unfortunately, her blog post has already been deleted.

    http://youtu.be/8hFtskK6g6g

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    That page at Julie Anne’s blog hasn’t been accessible for a while this afternoon. Any idea why, Warren?

    By the way, the Mefferd interview wasn’t gotcha journalism. Driscoll’s people apparently asked to be on the show and Mefferd agreed but said there would be tough questions. You know who else was a tough questioner for religious leaders? Jesus.

    There’s room for real journalism and journalists in the kingdom of Christ. Some people don’t want to see it happen, though. That’s awfully sad.

    • Warren Throckmorton

      Tim – No, I don’t. That was fast. I just put the post up and then it was gone.

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

        It just came back up with this announcement from Julie Anne (I’d been in email contact with her since leaving that question for you earlier; this is a mess!):

        “Julie Anne
        “December 5, 2013 @ 3:28 PM

        “Announcement:

        “Although you all know me as a ranting redhead and I’m not afraid to go after spiritual bullies, this blog’s first purpose is defending and protecting. It is in light of the blog’s first goal, that I needed to remove some comments, tweets, and related responses. This is unprecedented for me and was a difficult decision to make.

        “I am unable to discuss this any further and will be moderating carefully to remove related comments. I am absolutely fine. Thanks for the e-mails checking on me.”

        Warren, I think the parts you excerpted here are the ones she needed to take down to protect people. You might contact Julie Anne for her thoughts on the matter.

        Tim

      • ken

        I’d recommend if other such blog posts occur you keep a copy you can refer back to in case the original disappears again.

        • Warren Throckmorton

          I usually do; the whole thing happened pretty quickly.

    • Paula Coyle

      “There’s room for real journalism and journalists in the kingdom of Christ.”

      Sure there is. But no room in the Christian Mafia.

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

      Saying there would be tough questions is a far cry from the kind of ambush she pulled, as apparently now even she acknowledges.

      Could you please honestly tell us why you have such an instinctive hatred toward a theological orthodox and, as yet, morally irreproachable Christian leader?

      In other words, why the ax to grind?

  • TigandTag

    You know, she may not want those comments to be made public right now, at least with her name attatched to them. Did you get permission from her to do publish them here?

    I am sure that there is pressure from publishers to be nice to Christian authors, even if hard questions need to be asked. However, in this instance, it seems that unless you got prior permission to publish these comments, you are in the wrong.

    It is sad that she felt a need to quit her job. She may be spot on in her observations. However, did you ask permission?

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2011/02/06/how-to-stop-online-copyright-infringement/id=15035/

    • Warren Throckmorton

      Initially they were posted on another blog. But since then yes, I have permission to post them.

      • TigandTag

        Just checking. I have had it happen to me, but without my permission. Take care.

      • Kamilla Ludwig

        Which blog? I’d like to see them in their original context because the links don’t give me that.

        • http://www.spiritualsoundingboard.com Julie Anne

          Yes, he gives the link to my blog in the very first line of the article, Kamilla.

          • Kamilla Ludwig

            Julie Ann,

            You know very well from our Twitter exchange that my confusion was the result of not knowing *you* had deleted Ingrid’s comments.

            A little honesty about that on your part would have been nice to see instead of this comment.

          • http://www.spiritualsoundingboard.com Julie Anne

            Kamilla – my name is right above you with “e” on the end. Or feel free to use JA.

            Are you accusing me of being dishonest? Dishonest about what?

          • Kamilla Ludwig

            Goodness, if I got precious every time someone misspelled my name ….

            Yes, I am saying your comment is dishonest. As we all know now, you removed comments from your blog without leaving any evidence as to which ones you removed. Because you have done this, it is impossible to see Ingrid’s comments in their context. That’s what I was asking for.

            But I’m done playing these games. Good bye.

          • Paula Coyle

            My, touchy touchy. Well, it must be nice to armchair quarterback since you have nothing to lose.

            Seriously I understand your frustration but it’s a little narcissistic of you to think that your feelings and need for information were first on anyone’s priority list.

          • Warren Throckmorton

            Kamilla – The comments were in the midst of Julie Anne’s post on Driscoll. The entire comments are there; I didn’t edit them at all.

          • Kamilla Ludwig

            Haven’t we already done this? See my comment immediately above your about playing games.

          • http://www.spiritualsoundingboard.com Julie Anne

            Oh, Warren, so evidently in her reply to *me* she was really replying to you. Why did you not realize that? LOL

  • Barb Orlowski

    So, Warren, I am wondering why these comments, that were taken down by Julie Anne, somehow are still on your site? They were taken down to protect the commenter. You say that you have permission, but some of us are wondering: ‘from whom’?

    • Warren Throckmorton

      I have permission from Ingrid Schlueter; I spoke with her last night.

      • Barb Orlowski

        Warren, Thank you for clarifying. Your initial comment was just too vague.

        • Warren Throckmorton

          Sorry, was replying in a hurry.

      • http://futuristguy.wordpress.com brad/futuristguy

        Thanks for being more clear and specific about having permission directly from Ms. Shuelter. I’ve been following this unfolding story, and it was kind of disconcerting to see your unclear first response of “Yes, I have permission to post them.” That immediately brought to mind those vague kinds of acknowledgements like, “Mistakes were made” or “Someone gave the okay to act” … potentially raises suspicions.

        Especially when the issues of permission, citation, and plagiarism are part of the larger issues here, I believe that the more clear, the better. I do understand, though, that there is a balance between being precise enough to get the point across, but guarded when necessary to protect people involved.

        However, I couldn’t figure out what was going on from the vague statement I read. I felt left to my own interpretations to either accept what you said at face value — and these are my first times to your blog, so I don’t know who you are yet — and fill in whatever gaps I sensed, or to push back. Ms. Carlaw and Ms. Orlowski beat me to that, so I let their inquiries stand.

        So — again, thanks, Mr. Throckmorton. As a spiritual abuse survivor, these kinds of responsiveness and responsibility things are crucial to my discerning who earns the evaluation as “trustworthy” in the blogosphere, versus who will just prove stressworthy.

      • Paula Coyle

        I don’t know but you might want to check and see if the situation has changed. This is all such a big mess and of course, the rich and famous never suffer as much as the little kid who mentions that the emperor is nekkid.

        • Warren Throckmorton

          Paula – I think the toothpaste is out of the tube by this point. I do agree it is a mess but I think the remedy here is more light.

      • Guest

        Wow! You really are obsessed with this. And THAT is the problem. Deal with it.

    • Alan

      Well according to the actions of Mr. Driscoll, one no longer needs permission to copy…..

      • Guest

        That’s slanderous. You’re assuming it wasn’t a mistake and thus accusing him of lying. Unless you have any real evidence of that, you need to repent.

  • Dirtbeard

    When she had her own show and “discernment” site Ingrid acted like a Pharisee. She used her personal cultural preferences as a grid to judge others. And if you don’t fit her preference, if your expressions of the faith were not to her liking (regardless of their biblical fidelity) she discerned you are a slice of Laodicea.

    • TigandTag

      Ah. Okay. You know, I want to engage in some speculation, here, since speculation seems to be what we have left.

      Ingrid + assistant producer + someone told Janet that Driscoll hung up on her + strange tweets in Janet’s name + Ingrid’s history = Ingrid’s “resignation.”

      • Dirtbeard

        When this whole thing first exploded on the web I wondered why someone would accuse Driscoll in a public forum. Why not follow more biblical methods if you think sin has been committed? And why the drama, first saying he hung up… then it’s revealed he didn’t.

        It was not until later, when I saw Ingrid was the producer… this answered my questions.

        • TigandTag

          Wow. At any rate, for me, Janet is vindicated with her eloquent apology and the resignation of Ingrid.

          • Dirtbeard

            I know nothing of her, but the apology and removal of accusations were a good move.

          • Alan

            Let me get this straight… Obvious plagiarism has taken place…copying directly from someone else work and passing it as your own without proper citation and selling it to the public…. and the one who pointed it out needs to apologize? Everyone needs to look at the evidence and then take a look at Mars Hill legal page…Mark would be convicted rather quickly if he held to his own standards. That’s the facts, whether you like who said it or not.

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

            Let me get this straight: What is little more than an internal study guide lacks proper citation in two brief paragraphs and you, first, refuse to entertain the idea that people can make mistakes and then sound as if this were a monumental moral issue. What do you think of Ergun Caner?

        • Alan

          1Ti 5:19-21 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. (20) Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (21) I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

          • Dirtbeard

            Exactly, and couple that with Matt 18.

          • Alan

            Paul did not hold to the Matt 18 when people in high profile positions, such as Peter, were in the wrong. Matt 18 appears to be in personal offenses. However if Ms. Mefford had of held to Matt. 18 and went to Driscoll in private with all 4 of the accusations (which wasnt just a personal offense between her and him but an offense to all of christondom considering his audience) it still would have required an opening up of the offense to all because it was done to/in front of all.

          • Dirtbeard

            My original point was only to say there was a better way to address the question (Which is also what Ms. Mefford said in her apology), and I wondered why it was handled as it was… until I saw that Ingrid was involved… then it made sense.

          • Guest

            I don’t know anything about this Ingrid. Does she have an agenda?

  • http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/ SLIMJIM

    Shame shame shame on Driscoll

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

      For what? For lacking proper citation in two brief paragraphs in what is little more than an internal study guide?
      Shame on you for jumping on this like it’s a major issue.
      Meanwhile a “Christian” college in George elects a man as president who was proven to have fabricated his testimony and people ignore it.

  • Dirtbeard

    What one persons calls hard hitting journalism, someone else would call serial character assassination.


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