Christine Caine Appears to Be Harvesting What Joel Osteen Planted

Recently Christian motivational author Christine Caine settled a lawsuit with Christian author Carey Scott over material taken from Scott’s book and used in Caine’s book Unashamed. Caine has remained silent in the face of multiple requests for an explanation or apology regarding the plagiarism of Scott’s book. After I wrote about the situation and asked for a comment, she recently blocked me on Twitter.

Now it appears that Caine has harvested from another author. Earlier this evening I saw a tweet mentioning Caine with a quote that looked familiar to me. Here is the tweet:

This quote was claimed by Caine in 2015 on Twitter.

Caine also used this quote on her Facebook page in 2016.

This year, Caine’s publisher Zondervan produced a book of devotionals where they credited Caine for the quote in a chapter titled, “Buried or Planted?”

Osteen Was Planting in 2009

In 2009, Joel Osteen preached this quote in seed form.

 It’s easy to feel like we’ve been buried, but what’s interesting is the only difference between being buried and being planted is the expectancy of what’s going to happen next.

When you put a seed in the ground you don’t say, “I’m burying this seed,” you say, “I am planting this seed,” because you know it’s coming back.

We all face difficulties but you have the seed of almighty God on the inside. He breathed His life into you. When you go through disappointments, you’re in tough times… you might feel like you’d been buried, but the fact is, you’ve simply been planted.

Then in a 2011, he pruned the verbiage in his book, It’s Your Time.

When you go through disappointments and you’re in tough times, you may feel like you’ve been buried, but the fact is, you’ve simply been planted. That means you’re coming back!

Coincidence?

Now that Caine has blocked me and apparently isn’t going to respond to requests, I doubt I will find out from her if this is an amazing coincidence. The quotes are quite similar and it doesn’t seem right for Caine to get credit for reframing being buried as being planted. Perhaps Osteen got it from someone else, but it looks like he harvested that quote before Caine.

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Does Plagiarism Matter to Christians?

Judging by reaction to recent plagiarism cases, I don’t think plagiarism matters much to most Christians.

Of late, professor Aaron New has brought forward multiple clear examples of plagiarism involving Tim Clinton and the American Association of Christian Counseling. I have published most of them on this blog. The response has been interest from the Christian Post but other than that, a resounding yawn. The AACC’s response has been to blame interns and employees and buy software to find plagiarism before they publish it. Tim Clinton’s other organization, James Dobson’s Family Talk has removed articles with plagiarized material but without comment or apology.

Two days ago, Publisher’s Weekly first reported a settlement between Christine Caine and Carey Scott in a plagiarism case. Caine took some of Scott’s work and used it in a recent book. While Caine’s publisher settled with Scott, Caine has remained silent, without comment or apology. She hasn’t explained how Scott’s material ended up verbatim in her book and promotional material (see my post where I demonstrate Caine’s copying). Outside of a few familiar voices on social media, there is little pressure on Caine to explain herself or take responsibility for her actions. Her publisher has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Silence is the strategy.

Yesterday, World magazine’s Mindy Belz examined the tepid apology offered by author Anne Voskamp for plagiarism on Twitter. The apology for one instance of plagiarism (now deleted) was buried in a blog post in such way that it could easily be missed. She hasn’t had much else to say about it. But why should she, very few people seem to care.

And let’s not forget Mark Driscoll who was responsible for citation errors in several books. In 2013, Janet Mefferd first accused Driscoll of borrowing concepts from Peter Jones without appropriate citation. From there, I discovered additional problems in several of his books. Although Driscoll didn’t acknowledge wrongdoing, one of Driscoll’s publishers quietly corrected most of the problems over the course of a year. Today, Driscoll is back with a new book from Charisma publishing.

What is the Solution?

For her article, Belz spoke with publishing industry insiders. She reported that one answer was better plagiarism detection software. My answer is to hold authors to a high standard. They should do their own work. Fewer books would be published but given the repetitive nature of many books published by Christian publishers, that would be a good thing.

I suspect that part of the reason plagiarism is a mild sin among Christian writers and publishers is that enforcing the rules would require Christian authors to write their own material. Thus, ghostwriters and researchers would be out of work. Pretend experts and Christian celebrities would have to develop actual skills and find something novel and interesting to say without the help of paid experts and researchers.

As illustrated by the above situations, publishers aren’t regularly accountable to the public, nor do they require authors to be accountable. Scott had to go to court to get justice. She couldn’t count on Caine and her Christian publisher to do the right thing. Now that the situation is public, Caine isn’t talking. Although I don’t know what is in mind, her silence gives the appearance that she hopes her popularity will get her through this rough patch.

What has surprised me is that lack of response from Christians on social media to these cases. Only a very few members of the American Association of Christian Counselors have called for AACC leaders to be accountable. Very few evangelicals have directly appealed to Clinton, Caine, or Voskamp to take responsibility for their actions. Given the social media reaction, I suspect Christian publishers are content to ride out the few emails and calls they are getting in advance of the next book release. If many Christian consumers cared, they would go to the social media accounts of these authors and ask for answers.

As the Caine case demonstrates, plagiarism is actionable. However, in Christian circles it doesn’t appear to matter as much as it does elsewhere. Plagiarism leads to job loss or sanctions in the news room (e.g., here, here, here) and academia (e.g., here, here). When I contacted the Colson Center about Tim Clinton’s near verbatim use of a Chuck Colson op-ed in one of his articles, their response was to say nothing and let it go.

In academia, we will continue to enforce high standards of plagiarism. However, it is jarring to realize that our students will enter a world where plagiarism matters less when they work in media organizations which promote Christianity than in places which do not identify as Christian.

 

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Without Apology, Zondervan Settles Plagiarism Case Involving Christine Caine

According to Publisher’s Weekly yesterday, publisher HarperCollins Christian/Zondervan and author Christine Caine settled a plagiarism lawsuit with author Carey Scott. Scott accused Caine of copying sections of Scott’s book Untangled: Let God Loosen the Knots of Insecurity in Your Life to include in Caine’s book Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny.

Scott commented for the PW article, Caine did not.

While Scott alleged several instances of copying, I can show one. Consider the last paragraph of page 55 from Scott’s book beginning with “And the enemy”*

Then listen to Christine Caine’s narration from a segment of “Joni Table Talk” where she promotes her book Unashamed.

While this is a small portion, the words and flow of the sentences are copied from Scott’s book. This section was apparently quite important to Caine in that she chose it to promote the essence of the book. Because of the complaint, Caine agreed to change the text of the promotional video (you can view that on You Tube). In the complaint, Scott alleges that Caine acknowledged that she had read Scott’s book.

Sometime in July 2016, following HCCP’s and Zondervan’s review process, Ms. Caine contacted Ms. Scott directly. Ms. Caine affirmatively acknowledged that she had access to and read Ms. Scott’s work. (page 7)

Scott further alleged in the complaint that Caine’s book is “substantially similar” to hers. In a court filing prior to the settlement, Zondervan and Caine contested Scott’s claim that Caine’s book was substantially similar to Scott’s book.

Messages left with Zondervan and Christine Caine were not returned. Carey Scott had no comment.

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* This was Exhibit A in Scott’s complaint against Zondervan and Caine. The first two sentences in Scott’s books are reversed in Caine’s narration.

Dear AACC – Maybe Someone Should Look at All Your Content

Courtesy of Aaron New, here is another attribution problem at AACC. This article “The Case for Faith: Celebrating Hope in Mental Health Care” posted by “Emily” with authorship attributed to Eric Scalise and Tim Clinton in January of this year is mostly lifted from a book by Siang-Yang Tan and Eric Scalise titled Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry.

Here is just a little bit of the article. The words in italics are taken directly from Tan’s and Scalise’s book. Someone took the article, added a few sentences, put Clinton’s name on it and posted i.

Spirituality is mysterious, but real. It has offered countless millions a place of refuge, solace, comfort, hope and a deeper sense of purpose and meaning—especially in times of tragedy or crisis where grief and despair crouch at the doorstep of the soul seeking to rob a person of vitality and life. Although spirituality continues to be an evolving construct among the social sciences, thus far, the research literature generally affirms its profound and dynamic impact on mental health and mental health counseling. Why is it then—in a multicultural and postmodern society—that some practitioners and counselor educators continue to avoid or even disparage this potential client strength when it comes to treatment planning and desired therapeutic outcomes?

Some may remember that in the early days of mental health research, Freud referred to religion as nothing more than a mass neurosis. McMinn et al (2009) report that psychologists do not assess religious and spiritual issues in most cases and do not therefore include them in treatment plans. Thankfully, this important dimension of the human experience is not being completely ignored (Briggs & Rayle, 2005; Young et al, 2007). Dobmeier and Reiner (2012) note that the 2009 standards from the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and related Educational Programs (CACREP) specify some level of spiritualty integration in two of their core curriculum requirements. Religion and spirituality can no longer be simply viewed as an emotional or psychological “crutch,” but for the potential client strengths they consistently represent in the literature.

Now here is the relevant section of the Lay Counseling book.

If you read along in the article and the book, you will find that most of the article is taken from the book with minor alterations. There is a section on ethics codes from ACA and APA which I can’t find in the book. Nothing on the AACC website page says the article is excerpted from the Lay Counseling book.

In any case, here we have a case where Tim Clinton’s name appears on an article when there is no connection in the source document. I don’t know Dr. Tan, but have heard he is pretty nice fellow. Lay counseling has been Dr. Tan’s life work. My guess is he won’t do much about this but it is a pretty shabby way to treat a long time supporter.

PS – If you are reading this and have ever donated to the AACC Foundation, please contact me.

 

Dear AACC: Want to Avoid Plagiarism? Follow These Guidelines.

Two weeks ago, Jimmy Queen spokesman for American Association of Christian Counselors owner Tim Clinton told the Christian Post that Clinton has a “zero tolerance for plagiarism.”

Queen had to make that declaration because Dr. Aaron New and I have found some plagiarism in his articles and books (e.g., here). I have documented much of it on this blog. Queen blamed AACC interns and former employees for the infractions. He told CP that careless interns and employees took material from the work of other people, put Tim Clinton’s name on it and they didn’t realize the extent of it until Dr. New and I brought it to light.

If that is so, then there is a very easy way to avoid plagiarism. According to the CP article, AACC purchased software to detect plagiarism in their “mountains of content.” I have an easier method. Just follow these pointers.

First, do your own work.

Yes, that’s right. Write your own articles and books and when you quote someone else or want to use their ideas, look up the source and cite their work. I know it seems crazy and very time consuming, but it works. If Tim Clinton wants his name on something, then he should write it all himself. Sure, interns can track down sources, but as we have learned, they make lots of mistakes. If your name is on the byline, you’re responsible.

But what if someone else writes some of the article or book? That leads to the next guideline:

Give credit where credit is due.

If an intern writes something, put that person’s name on it. The AACC code of ethics discourages ghostwriter. The AACC code of ethics also requires authors to give credit to people in relation to the work they did. If an employee researches a topic and writes it up, give the person credit. Your name doesn’t have to be on everything.

Doing these two things would take care of a multitude of problems.

While we are at it, here is a sample of Clinton taking material from an edited book and putting it in one of the books he authored himself. If he says this is because of interns or employees, then the authorship of his books is open to question.

First, here is a section from his 2006 book Turn Your Life Around.

This appears to have been taken from a 2001 article by Michael Lyles in the Soul Care Bible. See below:

Just one more.

I call this writing a book by press release.

The highlighted parts all came from a Harvard press release which was reproduced by Science Daily. See below:

Elsewhere in the book more of the press release shows up but I feel like this demonstrates the point. The footnotes in the book point to an article in the AMA’s Journal which doesn’t contain any of this material. I am willing to believe an intern or employee goofed up on this. However, if true, that adds strength to my recommendation that preventing plagiarism is mainly about doing your own work.

In addition, any writer who wants to keep to the straight and narrow will profit from this list of 28 guidelines.

Mark Driscoll's New Blog: More Copied Material with No Quotes

Last week, reader Aaron New pointed out a couple of paragraphs in a blog post by fellow Patheos blogger Mark Driscoll which were nearly identical to material in a previously published book by Aubrey Malphurs. Using previously published material without citation is plagiarism.
Well, Professor New has found another copied paragraph. Driscoll’s paragraph is from part two of a series adapted from his book Doctrine with Gerry Breshears and is below:
Driscoll Lightfoot paragraph
Now compare Driscoll’s paragraph with this excerpt from How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot (copied material is underlined).
Lightfoot paragraph canon driscoll
Driscoll left out the Bible citations and rearranged a couple of words. Otherwise, this is lifted from Lightfoot. Taking into account last week’s incident and this one, it is hard to see how this could be accidental or some kind of coincidence. Some may protest that the amount of material is small. While true, the paragraphs are quotes with no quotation marks. This should be corrected and an apology immediately offered when it happens.
I contacted Driscoll’s co-author Gerry Breshears about the citations and he has not answered.
I have been able to consult a few individuals who did ghostwriting and research work for Mars Hill Church. Their descriptions provide insight into how some citations make it into published material and how some doesn’t. Much of the research for Doctrine was paid for by Mars Hill Church. Then Driscoll chose the information he needed and reworked it. Some passages obviously didn’t get reworked much and ended up in published works without citations. In all cases, so I was told, the citations were in the research. However, for some reason, either the author or an editor removed some citations. In any case, the beat goes on.
 

To follow along on social media, click the following links:

Facebook (blog posts and news)
Facebook (Getting Jefferson Right – history news)
Twitter

Footnotes Missing from Fellow Blogger Mark Driscoll's Latest Post

After my post yesterday about Fellow Patheos Blogger Pastor Mark Driscoll’s citation issues, reader and college prof Aaron New sent along an example of another problem in Driscoll’s most recent Patheos blog post.
The post, “What is the Bible? Answering 4 Common Questions About the Bible: Part 1,” largely comes from his book with Gerry Breshears, Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe. To his credit, Driscoll alerted readers to that fact at the end of the post.
More troubling is the lack of quotes and citation for the following section. From yesterday’s post:
Driscoll Blog Post 100417
Now take a look at a book first published in 1997 (2nd edition in 2009) written by Aubrey Malphurs and titled, Ministry Nuts and Bolts: What They Don’t Teach Pastors in Seminary.  On page 190 of that book, Malphurs provides the following description of the Bible. The portion of interest begins in the third full sentence of the paragraph below.
Malphus book 1997 2009
The passages are nearly identical. Even though the facts are commonly known, the order, wording, and presentation of those facts are nearly the same in both places. The Driscoll and Breshears book has a 2010 copyright date; Malphurs’ book shows two copyright dates, 1997 and 2009. Most of the Malphurs’ material is also in the Doctrine book, but a couple of the copied sentences are only in the Patheos blog post.
Readers, I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. I report, you decide. Just to make it clear, below is the Patheos blog post passage with the identical material underlined. What is not underlined is only slightly reworded. Only a very few additional words were added.
Driscoll compared to Malphurs
There may be more instances like this. I only examined two paragraphs in the Patheos blog. I think some explanation should be forthcoming for why the water that was under the bridge is now gushing forth in this new season.

A Citation Error by Fellow Blogger Mark Driscoll Is a Blast from the Past

Screen capture from Mars Hill Church video, 2014
Screen capture from Mars Hill Church video, 2014

After reading the most recent post by my Fellow Patheos Blogger Pastor Mark Driscoll™ last night, a frequent reader of my blog informed me that the new post recycles lots of material from Driscoll’s book on doctrine. Indeed, there are several paragraphs in his Patheos post on evil in Las Vegas which first appeared in his book with Gerry Breshears titled Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe.  For instance, Driscoll wrote in his post:

The Bible uses a constellation of images to explain sin as everything from rebellion to folly, self-abuse, madness, treason, death, hatred, spiritual adultery, missing the mark, wandering from the path, idolatry, insanity, irrationality, pride, selfishness, blindness, deafness, a hard heart, a stiff neck, delusion, unreasonableness, and self-worship. Sin and evil are not rational or reasonable.

In his Doctrine book, he introduces a section on sin with the same paragraph:
Driscoll Doctrine Sin

To Recycle or Not?

Recycling previously published material without citation is somewhat controversial in the world of writers. Journalist Jonah Lehrer had his career sidetracked over it. I discovered lots of it in Fellow Patheos Blogger Mark Driscoll’s™ books. However, in this case, I doubt many people will care that he is recycling previously published material at his new blog.
On the other hand, his co-author might care. Unless Gerry Breshears was not really very involved or just lent his name, the material claimed now by Driscoll might have been written by Breshears. Having a co-author is one reason why authors should cite the original source for recycled material.

Deja Vu All Over Again*

However, the same reader alerted me to something else I hadn’t seen before. It appears I found another “citation error” (some would call it plagiarism) in Doctrine (see this image for other such citation errors). On pages 149-150 of the 2010 book (see the page image here), Driscoll and Breshears wrote:

To help you understand sin, in general, and your sin, in particular, we will examine eight aspects of sin that the Old Testament teaches us.
1) Sin in the Old Testament is first a relational breach. This is painfully clear in Genesis 2–3 where, because of their sin, our first parents are separated from God and one another; they hide from God and one another, fear God, blame one another, and seek to cover their sin and shame while living their life apart from God.
2) Sin in the Old Testament is a social matter because shalom has been vandalized. This is evidenced by the litany of murder, perversion, drunkenness, the continual evil that precipitated the flood, and human attempts at an Edenic-like society without any regard for God that spring forth in Genesis 4–11.
3) Sin in the Old Testament is a covenantal rebellion against God and his authority. This is witnessed perhaps most clearly in Exodus 32 to 34, where following God’s liberation of his people, they dishonor, disregard, and disobey him by worshiping idols while God is giving them the Ten Commandments through their leader Moses.
4) Sin in the Old Testament is a legal transgression that results in guilt that necessitates punishment. One clear example is found in Deuteronomy 32, where in worshipful song Moses recollects some of the most treasonous behavior of God’s people and the price that had to be paid for justice to be maintained.
5) Sin in the Old Testament results in ritual uncleanness, pollution, and filth, marked by the use of words such as “filth,” “defiled,” “unclean,” and “whore.”18 Importantly, this defilement happens both to sinners and victims; we defile ourselves by our own sin and are defiled by others when they sin against us.
6) Sin in the Old Testament includes emotional pain such as shame and disgrace.19 This is first seen in Genesis 3, where our first parents sin and then hide in shame and disgrace, whereas prior to their sin they “were not ashamed.”20
7) Sin in the Old Testament is spoken of in historical terms as an accumulating burden whereby sin is piled up from one generation to the next.21 In this way, sin only worsens over time as people invent new ways to do evil more effectively.
8) Sin in the Old Testament is spoken of with the finality of death.22 Sin is deadly, and ends only in death. This is because when we sin and prefer created things to our creator God, we stop ruling over creation and are ruled by it so that in the end we lose and the dust wins.23
(The footnotes go to Bible verses not human authors as you can see in the page image)

Now read the same eight aspects written by Christopher Wright in a 2008 book about the atonement (Scroll down to Chapter Four “Atonement in the Old Testament” and read the first four pages of that chapter – See the page images for the relevant parts of Wright’s chapter here as well: one, two)

The eight aspects of sin described by Wright ended up in Driscoll’s book without citation. The explanations were gently reworded but reflect the same classification and meaning as Wright’s two years earlier. Some of the same key words, phrases, and Bible passages also remain used as Wright did, e.g., Adam and Eve, shalom, Exodus 32-34, shame and disgrace, accumulating burden, etc.  (See also this side by side comparison.)
It was as if I was transported back to 2014.
 
*”Deja vu all over again” is often attributed to Yogi Berra.
 

Reaction to the Monica Crowley Plagiarism Story (UPDATED)

UPDATE: Politico found multiple instances of plagiarism in Crowley’s PhD dissertation.
………….
Recently, Donald Trump named former Fox News talking head Monica Crowley to be his Director of Strategic Communications for the National Security Council. Then yesterday CNN’s Andrew Kaczynski published an expose of 50 instances of plagiarism in her 2012 book What the Bleep Just Happened Here? As disclosed in the CNN report, the transition team — who has another credibility problem on the team (Darrell Scott’s fake PhD) — came to Crowley’s defense:

Monica’s exceptional insight and thoughtful work on how to turn this country around is exactly why she will be serving in the Administration,” a statement from a transition spokesperson said. “HarperCollins—one of the largest and most respected publishers in the world—published her book which has become a national best-seller. Any attempt to discredit Monica is nothing more than a politically motivated attack that seeks to distract from the real issues facing this country.

Kaczynski’s research is impressive. There are long passages lifted from Wikipedia, Investopedia, and even her colleagues at the National Review. Comparing Crowley with Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism, I have to give an award to Crowley. Her plagiarism is extensive and involves numerous sources. Crowley has a PhD from Columbia and definitely should know better. On point, Bill Adair, professor at Duke University tweeted:


Because Crowley has academic training, I wonder if she had a ghostwriter involved who was simply sloppy. More broadly, I think the blame has to be spread out to anyone who was involved in writing and publishing the book, most notably her editors at HarperCollins.  The book acknowledgments section tells us who might also be able to explain what happened.
Crowley Ackn
National Review 
There are several ties to the National Review in this story which make it important for that publication to provide an official response. Crowley appears to have lifted work from writer Andrew McCarthy and editor Rich Lowry. Crowley’s “first-rate” editor Jessica Gavora has written for National Review and is the wife of NR columnist Jonah Goldberg. McCarthy already replied in a very charitable manner on Twitter:


At least her sources are “whip smart.”
One problem with plagiarism, especially this extensive, is that it perpetrates a fraud. Is Crowley really capable of great work or is she simply pretending? Daily Beast writer Brandy Zadrozny articulates this problem in her response to the Trump team statement.


Crowley has yet to comment (as far as I can determine) but barring some incredible explanation, these instances of plagiarism should disqualify her from the public trust, at least at present. Having said that, I would be surprised if the Trump team takes any principled action.

Did Hillary Clinton Plagiarize Alexis de Tocqueville?

Tonight in her speech, Hillary Clinton said:

But here’s the sad truth: There is no other Donald Trump…This is it. And in the end, it comes down to what Donald Trump doesn’t get: that America is great – because America is good.

Did she plagiarize de Tocqueville? No, because de Tocqueville didn’t say that. According John Pitney in the Weekly Standard:

These lines are uplifting and poetic. They are also spurious. Nowhere do they appear in Democracy in America, or anywhere else in Tocqueville.

Read Pitney’s explanation at the Weekly Standard. Quick, Twitter’s going crazy over it.
Now having established that, can we talk about Bonhoeffer author Eric Metaxas tweeting a spurious Bonhoeffer quote to promote Christians voting for Donald Trump?