Summary of New and Old Citation Problems in Mark & Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage

In this post, I am going to summarize the remainder of instances of citation problems and recycling in Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage. In addition, I will add links to the previous issues discovered.

First some issues I have not written about previously.

On pages 53-54, the Driscolls write about “contract v. covenant marriage.” To me, this use seems similar to their use of Dan Allender’s relational styles of abused women (“tough girl, good girl, party girl”). First, from Real Marriage, p. 53:

Understanding contract versus covenant is essential to marriage. In a contractual marriage two people with two lives negotiate the terms of their marriage. This tends to make marriage more like a business deal where two individuals living parallel lives monitor each other’s contributions to see if the terms of the marriage negotiation are being upheld. For many men and women, the questions are: Is my spouse keeping up his/ her looks, making his/ her share of the income, doing an equal amount of the chores, and having enough sex with me, or not? And if at any point I do not believe my spouse is keeping up his or her end of our business arrangement, I simply nullify the deal and file for divorce according to the terms of a prenuptial agreement in which the divorce was organized before the marriage began.

A covenant is not like a contract. This is important for men to understand because most men, especially professionals, think contractually, which is fine for business but death to a marriage. The concept of covenant appears literally hundreds of times throughout the Bible. At the most basic level, a covenant is a loving agreement between two parties that bonds them together . a Some covenants are made between God and people, such as the new covenant of salvation. b Other covenants are made between people, such as the covenant of marriage.

Driscoll, Mark; Driscoll, Grace (2012-01-03). Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together (p. 53-54). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I don’t know who coined the distinction first but their discussion reminded me of the concept of contract v. covenant marriage in Gary Chapman’s 2003 book Covenant Marriage. Click this link to see the relevant portion of Covenant Marriage.

In a previous post, I pointed out instances of recycling material from one book to another without disclosure. In Real Marriage, the Driscolls recycled additional material from Death By Love (authored with Gerry Breshears).  From Real Marriage, pages 94-95:

Bitterness is often unrelated to the magnitude of a sin, but instead correlates to how much you love the offender. If a stranger sins against you in a significant way, you are likely to be angry, but not bitter. If a spouse sins against you— even in a little way— however, you are likely to get bitter because you have higher expectations for your spouse’s relationship with you. And we can even become bitter against God, like Naomi (meaning “pleasant”), who changed her name to Mara (meaning “bitter”) because “‘ the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.’”

Click this link to compare the section in Real Marriage to a discussion of bitterness in Death By Love.

A third section is the Driscoll’s treatment of John Wesley’s marriage on pages 97-99 in Real Marriage. The Driscolls provide an account of John Wesley’s marriage to Molly Vazeille. The marriage was a disaster by any standard and the Driscolls contrast it with the happy marriage of John’s brother Charles. The narrative is told with footnotes for direct quotes from John Wesley but no citation of the source(s) for the many facts provided about the rest of the story. The material is not common knowledge and had to come from research on Wesley’s life. In one instance, the Driscolls cite a very good book by Doreen Moore titled “Good Christians, Good Husbands” but do so in relation to a direct quote from Wesley. The details of Wesley’s failed marriage are presented without citation.

From an academic point of view, the lack of citation makes it impossible to track down their claims. For instance, I would like to know their source because one aspect of the narrative seems incorrect. From page 98:

John Wesley had poured his life into his ministry of Methodism . But in February 1751 things changed when, at the age of forty-eight, the never-married John Wesley was crossing London Bridge when he slipped on ice and broke his ankle. He was then taken into the home of forty-one-year-old Molly Vazeille, a wealthy widow with four children. Without even a passing mention in his journal, the two were married eight days later.

Driscoll, Mark; Driscoll, Grace (2012-01-03). Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together (p. 98). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

According to Doreen Moore’s research (p. 21) and a letter by John Wesley’s brother Charles, Wesley had already disclosed he was going to marry Molly Vazeille before he injured his ankle on the bridge. The Driscolls make it seem as though Wesley didn’t know Molly prior to the injury. However, he was taken there apparently because he had already announced his intention to marry her. Small matter perhaps, but worth noting for those who are interested in the life of Wesley.

Other posts on Real Marriage:

Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage and Robert Brannon’s Male Sex Roles: Coincidence or Something More?

More Citation Problems in Mark Driscoll’s Book Real Marriage; Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints and More

Anti-Plagiarism Campaigner Says Mark Driscoll Did Not Adequately Cite The Work Of Peter Jones

Writing Recycling: A New Wrinkle in the Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy?

Mark and Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage Compared to Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s Rid of My Disgrace

Kindle Edition of Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage Adds Dan Allender to Acknowledgments


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