A New Front In The Driscoll Plagiarism Wars? Twagiarism

This one is a bit humorous.
Mark Driscoll likes to tweet pithy little tweets to his zillion followers throughout the day. At least someone is tweeting them in his name. Given what we now know, I figure maybe someone at Docent Research Group is helping out. Anyway, just a bit ago, Twitter user Sherideth Smith pointed out that one of Driscoll tweets was actually from Bill Murray.
Note:


In fact, Murray probably heard it from someone who heard it on Tumblr, maybe from this guy.
Louis CK used it too:
https://twitter.com/Louis_CK_Comedy/status/410555944645312513
I suppose if I were Driscoll in this season, I would not try to pass off stuff as mine no matter how innocent it might seem.
Actually, according to this article, passing off other people’s tweets as your own is known as Twagiarism and has ensnared a few folks along the way.  Dreaming of being a Twitter star? Well, I have some advice.

Never give up on your dreams, keep sleeping*

*Source unknown, but I saw it first on Twitter.
For all posts on this topic, click here.
 
 

Another Publisher Investigates Mark Driscoll's Books

Another Christian publisher is conducting a review of Mark Driscoll’s books. This evening, Becky Garrison reports at Religion Dispatches that publisher Crossway is conducting an internal review of Mark Driscoll’s books to ensure “proper citation and documentation.” That is the same thing Crossway told me when I asked about my prior posts on Death By Love, a book authored by Driscoll and Gerry Breshears and published by Crossway.
I contacted Crossway’s Executive Director of Marketing James Kinnard for comment about prior posts regarding Death By Love. In reply, Kinnard wrote:

I assure you we are in touch with Mars Hill and are conducting an internal review to ensure that our books published by Mark Driscoll have proper citation and documentation.

I also reached out to Driscoll via Mars Hill and his co-author Gerry Breshears. Breshears pointed me to Driscoll’s recent apology concerning his book on Peter, but declined to comment further on other instances which have been raised.
Driscoll has published nine books with Crossway, three of which are out of print.
In her RD article, Garrison asks pointed questions about how Tyndale House has addressed the controversy as compared to how secular media have handled similar situations. Head on over to RD and give it a read.
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)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links (12/16/13)
Historical Problems In Mark Driscoll’s Death By Love (12/16/13)
Mark Driscoll’s Death By Love And Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart: Is This Plagiarism? (12/17/13)
More IVP Reference Material Shows Up Without Citation in a Book by Mark Driscoll (12/18/13)
Mark Driscoll and Tyndale House Release Statement of Apology to Christian Post (12/18/13)
See all posts on this topic here.

Mark Driscoll and Tyndale House Release Statement of Apology to Christian Post

Read the article here.
Driscoll told CP:

“Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for,” stated the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church pastor. “As a Bible teacher, I know that Jesus loves us and uses everything for good. I know he cares very much that we do things in a way that reflects his glory. As a result, I have been praying that he would help me learn through all of this to become more like him and more effective for him.”

Tyndale House then released a defense of Driscoll which includes an admission by Driscoll that he is responsible for the errors in the Peter study guide. Driscoll also indicated that other books would be reviewed. He could start here.
Here is the full statement:

Tyndale House Publishers Regarding Pastor Mark Driscoll’s Call to Resurgence
Dec 18, 2013

          On November 21, 2013 Pastor Mark Driscoll participated in a radio interview via phone to promote his new book, A Call to Resurgence. The interview was arranged by his book publisher, Tyndale House. During that interview, the talk show host accused Pastor Driscoll of plagiarism in his new book, claiming that he had not properly cited ideas that originally came from Peter Jones, Director of truthXchange and Adjunct Professor at Westminster Seminary in California. In the days following the interview, the talk show host posted on her blog further allegations of plagiarism against Pastor Driscoll, complete with screenshots of other books where she alleged he had committed plagiarism. She later removed all of those posts and issued a public apology.
Since that time, both Mark Driscoll and Tyndale House have been asked to make statements addressing this issue. While Tyndale has made two brief statements, it has spent much of the past three weeks looking carefully into these claims, as has Pastor Driscoll. Tyndale House and Mark Driscoll take any claims of plagiarism seriously. Tyndale does not condone it in any of its works, and if discovered, the company takes action to correct it immediately.  Driscoll has consistently spoken out against plagiarism in his writing and publishing.  If any mistakes are ever made in that regard, he is equally committed to correcting such errors as soon as they are discovered. Pastor Driscoll has fully cooperated with Tyndale and both have worked together to carefully investigate the issue with respect to A Call to Resurgence. 
After taking the necessary and important time needed to investigate all aspects of this issue, Tyndale House Publishers has concluded the following:
1.   Pertaining to his Tyndale book, A Call to Resurgence, Tyndale believes that Mark Driscoll did indeed adequately cite the work of Peter Jones. While there are many nuanced definitions of plagiarism, most definitions agree that plagiarism is a writer’s deliberate use of someone’s words or ideas, and claiming them as their own with no intent to provide credit to the original source. Both Mark Driscoll and Tyndale completely agree that the above definition describes an ethical breach and therefore work hard to provide proper citation and to give credit where credit is due in all their works.  Tyndale rejects the claims that Mark Driscoll tried to take Peter Jones’s ideas and claim them as his own. Moreover, at Pastor Driscoll’s invitation, Peter Jones has written on the Resurgence website, and spoken at a Resurgence event, as well as a Mars Hill workshop. Quite the opposite of trying to take Peter Jones’s ideas, Mark Driscoll has provided several opportunities for Peter Jones to publicly express his ideas to a large audience.
2.   In a separate issue unrelated to any Tyndale title, the radio host also made an allegation with regard to a study guide that was published in-house at Mars Hill. In this instance, Pastor Driscoll agrees that errors were made. He says:
In recent weeks, it was brought to my attention that our 2009 Trial study guide on 1&2 Peter contained passages from an existing work for which no proper citation to the original work was provided. The error was unintentional, but serious nonetheless.  I take responsibility for all of this. In order to make things right, we’ve contacted the publisher of the works used in the study guide, offered an apology, and agreed to work with them to resolve any issues they had. Also, I personally contacted one of the editors of the work that was not rightly attributed. Thankfully, he and I have a longstanding relationship, which includes him teaching at Mars Hill and publishing a book with us through Resurgence. He’s a godly man who has been very gracious through all of this. I am deeply thankful for his acceptance of my apology, as I deeply grieve this mistake with a brother in Christ whom I appreciate very much.
Our Full Council of Elders and Board of Advisors and Accountability have all been thoroughly informed, as I am gladly under authority both internally at Mars Hill to a team of Elders, and to a formal leadership team from outside of Mars Hill.
We’ve removed the free PDF version of Trial from our website, and we are reviewing the rest of our self-published materials to ensure that no similar mistakes have been made elsewhere. We are also making changes to our content development process to avoid these mistakes in the future. In addition, we are working with all of our past publishers to review other books we have published. If other mistakes were made, we want to correct them as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, when we removed the Trial PDF from the Mars Hill website, we replaced it with a statement that claimed the book was never sold. That study guide was originally created for in-house small group use at Mars Hill so we gave it away at our church. We first believed we did not receive any revenue from this, but we later discovered that Trial was in fact previously sold on the Resurgence website and by Logos Software. To the best of our knowledge, total profits to Mars Hill from these sales are $236.35. We have corrected the previous statement on our website, and apologize for this error as well.
Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for. As a Bible teacher, I know that Jesus loves us and uses everything for good. I know he cares very much that we do things in a way that reflects his glory. As a result, I have been praying that he would help me learn through all of this to become more like him and more effective for him.”
“To his credit, Mark Driscoll has moved quickly to make all necessary changes where mistakes were made in the study guide” said Ron Beers, Senior Vice President and Group Publisher for Tyndale. “Moreover, he has assured us that he has personally spoken with the primary editor of a commentary that was inadvertently used in the study guide without adequate citation, and all parties spoken to have told Pastor Driscoll that they are satisfied with the steps he has taken to correct the errors. Because of the biblical manner in which Pastor Driscoll has handled this situation, Tyndale strongly stands behind him and looks forward to publishing many additional books with him. Tyndale believes that Mark Driscoll has provided a significant call to Christians to unite together in translating the message of Jesus faithfully to a post-Christian culture, to proclaim clearly, loudly, and unashamedly the Good News of Jesus.”

A good beginning but there are other issues which were not addressed by this statement.

More IVP Reference Material Shows Up Without Citation in a Book by Mark Driscoll

Last week, I noted that a study guide on 1 & 2 Peter with Mark Driscoll’s name on it as the author improperly copied material from a publication by InterVarsity Press (see IVP’s statement to Christianity Today). Driscoll (or someone) took the material from a report by the Docent Group. The Docent researcher provided footnotes and references but these were not carried over into the study guide titled Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1 & 2 Peter. See here and here for more on that matter.
Now, I have found a similar pattern within Driscoll’s recent book, Who Do You Think You Are?: Finding Your True Identity in Christ. Prior to the publication of the Ephesians book, Docent Research Group produced a 290 page research report for Mars Hill Church which contains a “best hits” of materials relating to the New Testament book of Ephesians. Many sources are cited verbatim with footnotes and reference material provided, although as I point out, some of the sections are quite lengthy. I have found several sections in Driscoll’s book which borrow directly from the research report. Although I have not done a complete analysis, I can report that the same problems acknowledged by Mars Hill regarding the 1 & 2 Peter book show up in this book as well. Below are just two examples.
First, note in the left column a section from 1993 InterVarsity Press reference book, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. The material in the red box shows up first in the Docent Research report and then is reproduced without citation in Driscoll’s book (on right) via a sentence in the body of the book and then in a footnote. The flow of ideas is similar and then beginning with “Egyptian colonists,” the material is essentially the same as in the Dictionary. The footnote does not cite the IVP reference book.

Below is another instance from earlier in the Dictionary entry on Ephesus. In this case, the verbatim uses are spread throughout the section of Driscoll’s book (see the image below). As in the 1 & 2 Peter book, a citation used by the original source author (Strabo) is used as a footnote in Driscoll’s book but without mentioning where he found Strabo (the Dictionary). 

Also of concern is the fact that much of the entries for Ephesians and the city of Ephesus from the Dictionary of Paul and His Letters is reproduced verbatim in the research report from the Docent Research Group. For instance, pages 249-250 of the Dictionary are copied verbatim directly into the Docent report.

Given that this was apparently intended to be a private report for Driscoll’s use, one might wonder why the wholesale copying is of concern. One reason is that Mars Hill Church sent this report to churches free of charge if the church signed up to be in a Mars Hill campaign promoting the Ephesians series and the book Who Do You Think You Are? The general guideline for fair use (using copyrighted materials without permission but with citation) is about 500 words. The portion of the entry on the city of Ephesus from IVP’s Dictionary is over 1700 words and that is not all of the Dictionary that was copied (substantial portions of the Dictionary entry on the book of Ephesians was also copied into the research report and then used in Driscoll’s book). While I can understand that Mars Hill would want to share the research, I question the distribution of that much of IVP’s reference book without permission (none was noted).

Although Mars Hill and Driscoll clearly sing the praises of Docent, there is no mention of Docent research in the acknowledgment section of the book.

In a related development, Jared Wilson at the Gospel Coalition issued a public call for Rev. Driscoll to account for issues raised by recent controversies, including the one surrounding allegations of plagiarism.

Stay tuned…

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)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links (12/16/13)
Mark Driscoll’s Death By Love And Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart: Is This Plagiarism? (12/17/13)
See all other posts on this topic here.

Mark Driscoll's Death By Love And Dan Allender's The Wounded Heart: Is This Plagiarism?

When Janet Mefferd first accused Mark Driscoll of plagiarism, she focused on Driscoll’s use of Peter Jones signature concepts of “oneism” and “twoism.” Houston Baptist University professor Collin Garbarino looked at the matter and said he would have been “concerned about the lack of citation” but may have regarded it as “ineptitude.”
Then Mefferd claimed plagiarism in three other books (one of which I have examined in depth here and here). Specifically, she claimed that Mark and Grace Driscoll’s recent book Real Marriage improperly used some work from Dan Allender’s 1990 book The Wounded Heart.  That material was gone from Mefferd’s site soon after she posted it but can still be viewed here (and here).
In Allender’s book, he identifies various “styles of relating” often used by abused women. The terms “good girl, tough girl, and party girl” are used by Allender to describe various compensations that some women make in response to psychological pain associated with being victims of abuse. The terms are fully described on pages 160-169 of his book and can be previewed at Amazon and seen here.
In addition to the Real Marriage book, the terms are also used in Driscoll’s 2008 book with Gerry Breshears, Death by Love. In this book on pages 150-152, Driscoll and Breshears describe “fig leafs” used by abused women to protect themselves.

Tragically, this pattern of sin-defilement-shame-hiding continues through four possible roles that defiled people can assume. These roles are the fig leaves they and their secret hide behind, according to some experts I know in the field of sexual abuse. As I explain these, Mary, I need you to be honest about which fig leaf you are wearing—the role you are playing, the person you are pretending to be—so that you can repent of not only your sin but, as Romans 1:18 says, your efforts to suppress the truth of what you have done and what has been done to you, which contribute to your ongoing additional sin.

In this letter to a woman he calls “Mary,” Driscoll refers to “experts I know in the field of sexual abuse.” Allender could be one of those experts but I can’t find his name in the book. Because they cite unnamed experts, it appears to me that they are not claiming these designations as their own exclusive work. Any discussion of plagiarism would need to move to “unintentional plagiarism” such as described here on the University of Washington website.
What follows are brief excerpts of the section from pages 150-152 of Death by Love. When compared with Allender’s book it is clear to me that Driscoll and Breshears are describing the same styles of relating.

The first fig leaf is worn by the good girl. The good girl is successful, pleasant, and dependable…The good girl is essentially dead, devoid of passion, and consumed with trying to smile, be good, and do the right thing, hoping to convince everyone that she is fine when she is really broken and devastated.
The second fig leaf is worn by the tough girl. The tough girl has been hurt, and she projects to the world her confidence, anger, and toughness so that no one has the courage to hurt her again. The tough girl is respected by many but known and loved by few.
The third fig leaf is worn by the party girl. The party girl is the life of the party, the center of attention, fun to be with, and prone to self-medicate with drugs, food, and alcohol.

Driscoll and Breshears add a fourth fig leaf — the church lady. She sounds a lot like the good girl but churchier.
In short, I believe the authors of Death by Love (and Real Marriage as well) should have included a simple footnote giving credit to Allender for the conceptualization of these styles of relating with reference to The Wounded Heart.
Some might point out that, in this book, Driscoll is writing a letter to a woman and it would be awkward to include footnotes. I agree that one might not include them in a personal letter, but it would have been proper to include a citation in the book. The book was not written to one person, but for sale to many. Thus, including a note in the book but not the letter would have properly discharged their duty as authors.
I should add that I reached out to Gerry Breshears, Mars Hill Church, and Dan Allender for comment with no reply as yet. I welcome any information relevant to fact checking this claim.
I am surprised that no comment has yet come from those involved. Others, when charged with such things, are quick to comment (e.g., Shia LeBeouf”s recent apology for his mistake of not citing the inspiration and source for a recent movie). Mars Hill has acknowledged some “citation errors” but appeared to lay the blame at the feet of research helpers. Even though Rev. Driscoll’s name is on the cover of the various books in question, he has yet to comment.
The deflection and silence makes me wonder if evangelicals will get around to important conversations about ghostwriting and Christian celebrities.
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)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links (12/16/13)
See all posts on this topic here.

Historical Problems In Mark Driscoll's Death By Love

In doing some reading in preparation for a post comparing a passage from Dan Allender’s book The Wounded Heart with Mark Driscoll’s and Gerry Breshears’ book Death by Love, I found a glaring historical error in Death by Love. On page 170, Driscoll and Breshears wrote:

As an aside, James Arminius was John Calvin’s son-in-law and greatly appreciated Calvin. He said that, after the Scriptures, he believed Calvin’s writings to be the most profitable study for God’s people. Therefore, the acrimony that sometimes flares up between Calvinists and Arminians need not be so if the examples of Calvin and Arminius are followed by their followers.

When I say I found it, I should say I learned of it reading other blogs. For instance, about that claim, Westminster Theological Seminary professor R. Scott Clark wrote,

This is historical nonsense. Calvin married the widow Idellete de Bure in 1540. She brought to the marriage two children, a son and a daughter.1 Jean and Idellette were married for nine years. In that time she bore him a son, Jacques, who, in 1542, died in infancy.2  Idellete herself died in 1549 leaving Calvin a widower. Even if he had a surviving daughter, she would have been born in the early 1540s. Arminius was born in 1560. Calvin’s hypothetical (biological) daughter would have been about 47 when Arminius married. That’s unlikely and, as it happened, contrary to fact. Arminius married the daughter of a prominent merchant in 1590.

The paragraph above from Death by Love is a mixed bag. While it is not true that Arminius was Calvin’s son-in-law, it is true that Arminius respected Calvin’s commentaries on the Bible.  On the other hand, Calvin died in 1564 and Arminius was born in 1560, so we don’t have any example of Calvin and Arminius as contemporaries to follow.
According to Arminian blogger William Birch, Driscoll and Breshears get the theology of Arminius wrong as well, especially on total depravity.
UPDATE: R. Scott Clark identifies another historical problem with Driscoll’s book on doctrine with the help of a book by Kevin Giles.
Stay tuned…
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)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links (12/16/13)
See all posts on this topic here.
 

Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links

Mysterious. I post links to pages on Mars Hill Church’s websites and then they disappear. Where is Chief Inspector Clouseau when you need him?
I posted a link to Mars Hill’s battle plan for their series on 1 & 2 Peter and it disappeared. Then it returned for a few hours only to disappear again.  This document (which you can read here) contained the Docent research report used by someone at Mars Hill to construct the study guide on 1 & 2 Peter which contains copied material from the New Bible Commentary. Mark Driscoll’s name is listed as the author but much of the guide was taken from the Docent research report. The entire story is here and here.
Mars Hill acknowledged “citation errors” in a statement on their website but then changed the statement within hours of my post on the subject. The initial statement said the book on 1 & 2 Peter had never been sold. However, Logos Research Systems was selling it at the time and Mars Hill had sold the book when the series was taking place. Now those web pages (Mars Hill) are gone (Logos). Click these live links to see the Logos page and part of the Mars Hill page. The altered statement removed the phrase which claimed the book had never been sold. Those running websites at MHC not only removed the claim but the evidence for the original claim.
In addition to these missing links, Religion News Service posted a link to the MHC website which is now gone. Jonathan Merritt’s article on the MHC statement regarding “citation errors” provided a link to a MHC page where Mark Driscoll praised Docent Research and Justin Holcomb. Now that page is gone. For now, the Google cache tells the tale as does the Wayback Machine.
It appears that MHC would like to scrub information about the book on 1 & 2 Peter. This seems like an odd response to the set of facts that have been assembled and only serves to make it appear that there must be fire in the vicinity of the smoke.
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)
Ingrid Schlueter Resigns From Janet Mefferd Show Over Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (12/5/13)
Who’s Talking About The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy? (12/7/13)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors (12/9/13)
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED) (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Battle Plan Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter (12/10/13)
Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two (12/12/13)
See all posts on this topic here.

Mars Hill’s Sermon Series Document Reveals Background of Mark Driscoll’s Book on Peter, Part Two

On Tuesday, I discussed a document found on The Resurgence website which contained the research notes behind Mark Driscoll’s book on the apostle Peter. That document was missing for awhile but now has been returned to the website (seems to be gone from the website again, here it is). In that post, I examined paragraphs from the NBC, Driscoll’s book and Justin Holcomb’s research notes. In this post, I want to review three additional paragraphs in a similar manner. From both of these efforts, it appears to me that Holcomb’s work was adequately documented. One problem I found was that one of the endnotes cited the wrong source which is an easy mistake to make. However, it seems clear to me from the use of quotes and citations that Holcomb was not presenting the information as his own work.
Furthermore, it appears to me that Rev. Driscoll (or someone on his behalf) took Dr. Holcomb’s research notes and included them nearly verbatim into Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1 & 2 Peter. As a result, the material originally from the New Bible Commentaryas stated by Intervarsity Press — “improperly appeared without quotation or attribution” in Driscoll’s finished product. As I see it, the material may have ended up in the Driscoll book via mistake by Driscoll or his staff. However, if I am accurate in my analysis, another question arises: Was is proper for Driscoll to take material from a research assistant, remove the quotations and citations provided by that research assistant and then portray that work and research as his own work? While I may be wrong in my analysis, until Driscoll explains how the material from Holcomb’s research appeared in his book, one is left to speculate based on the available evidence.
First, examine paragraphs from Holcomb’s notes on page 149:

Where and when was the letter written?
“In 5:13 the writer sends greetings from ‘she who is in Babylon, chosen together with you‘. This seems like a reference to the local church in Babylon, but it is unlikely that Peter would have gone to the former capital of Nebuchadnezzar‘s empire. By Peter‘s time it was a sparsely inhabited ruin (fulfilling Is. 14:23). In Rev. 16:19 and 17:5 ‘Babylon‘ is used as a cryptic name for Rome, and Col. 4:10 and Phm. 24 (most likely written in Rome) show that Mark was there with Paul. In 2 Tim. 4:11, Mark is in Asia Minor, and Paul sends for him to come, most probably to Rome. The fact that neither Peter nor Paul mentions the other in the list of those sending greetings from Rome merely suggests that they were not together at the time of writing their letters. All this points to the theory that Peter was writing from Rome, which is supported by the evidence of Tertullian (Against Heresies, 36) and Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History, 2.25.8; 2.15.2 and 3.1.2–3).
In view of what was said above about Christians being persecuted, a date in the reign of Nero (AD 54–68) would seem best. Since Peter makes no reference to Paul‘s martyrdom, which is thought to have taken place during the out-burst of persecution in Rome in 64, the letter was probably written before then (see also 2:13). Links with other writings are thought to suggest a date after 60. So far as we can draw any conclusions from the evidence, the letter was probably written c. 63–64.

Note the quotes at the beginning of this section. Immediately below is a screen capture of the beginning (p. 149) and end of the section in question (p. 150) from Holcomb’s research notes. The quotes are enclosed in red.
At the end of the passage, along with the closing of the quote, the superscript “xxi” is provided and leads to this correct reference information:

David Wheaton, ―1 Peter in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, Ed. D. A. Carson, 4th ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994).

In the book Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1 & 2 Peter, Driscoll did not use all of what Holcomb provided but did incorporate some of it nearly verbatim. Also, note that the research notes do not paraphrase the Bible commentary but include the passage verbatim within the quotations. At this link you can see the entire section uncut, thus demonstrating that the section was set off by quotes with correct citation to the chapter on Peter in the NBC.
Now compare the passage above with the original chapter in the NBC and as included in the book by Driscoll.

In this section, Driscoll (or someone) removed the quotes from the research notes, changed a few words and included the material in his book without the citation. He did, however, include the references to Against Heresies and Ecclesiastical History as footnotes. The appearance is that Rev. Driscoll consulted those sources directly.
I am not going to speculate much more about what happened. I simply don’t know what was behind the decision to include this material as it is. However, I don’t believe Holcomb as research assistant should be the focus of this matter as was implied in the statement made by Mars Hill Church on their website. The ball is in Driscoll’s court to address the questions about proper use of a research assistants’ work when there is no credit given.
For me, the issue of ghostwriting and use of research assistance is a prime topic we should be talking about. I am with John Piper on this. Putting one’s name on material one did not write is misleading and corrosive to trust among consumers of published materials. It seems to me that the Christian publishing industry, authors, ministers and other stakeholders should engage in reflection about this practice. One good thing that I hope emerges from this controversy is a new standard that discourages ghostwriting and provides guidelines for the proper and honest attribution of authorship.
Another issue of concern relates to the statement from Mars Hill Church about “citation errors” in the book on 1 & 2 Peter. Their altered statement (you can read the original and altered statements here) suggests that the problems with the book on Peter were due to a “team of people, including a research assistant.” However, now it appears from this information on their own website that the issue was not the Docent researcher but whoever took the researcher’s work and put Mark Driscoll’s name on it.

Janet Mefferd Breaks Silence in Slate Article on Driscoll Controversy

Janet Mefferd has drifted into the background since her apology for her on-air actions with Mark Driscoll on her November 21 broadcast.  Today, in an article on Slate by Ruth Graham, Mefferd breaks her silence on the Driscoll controversy.
Mefferd is clear that she continues to believe Driscoll’s books inappropriately used material from other sources and that he needs to make it right. Go on over to Slate and read the article.

John Piper Calls Out Famous Guys (Like Mark Driscoll) On Ghostwriting

It is getting serious up in here.
Last night on Twitter, John Piper posted a series of tweets apparently in response to an op-ed by Andy Crouch at Christianity Today on the Mark Driscoll plagiarism (now ghostwriting) controversy.  Crouch’s op-ed builds to this crescendo:

The real danger here is not plagiarism—it is idolatry.

I think both are a problem and as it turns out another related problem appears to be ghostwriting.
Piper doesn’t think highly of taking credit for the work of others. To wit:


As Crouch and Piper suggest, this controversy is turning toward ghostwriting and less than honest assignment of credit for scholarly work. In the last tweet posted above, Piper links to an audio where he addresses ghostwriting. In it he says, “I think to put your name on a book you didn’t write is a lie.” Piper leaves no doubt as to his dim view of misrepresenting one’s work to the public.