On Friday, Buzzfeed fired an editor over plagiarism.
You can see some of the examples of what got Benny Johnson fired here.
Now compare that to these instances and this one involving Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll.
It is becoming plagiarism Friday. See these previous posts.
Today CNN announced the ouster of Marie-Louise Gumuchian, a former editor who wrote mainly about international news. According to an Editor’s note on the CNN website, CNN discovered about 50 articles with plagiarized material. According to the Washington Post, there were 128 separate instances of plagiarized material in those 50 articles. The investigation is ongoing.
Some articles have been completely removed. Some, like this one on the crisis in Ukraine, contain a disclaimer at the end of the article:
I have not been able to track down pre-edited versions of these articles to see what material was lifted from another source. The several articles I have located are not available on the Wayback Machine or in Google cache.
Gumuchian might have been better off to write for a Christian publisher. Especially if she had a large media buying audience, she might have gotten off by saying “mistakes were made.”
Comedian Danny Murphy today relates a story of having some of his material end up in several sources without attribution.
He provided detail about his interactions with magachurch pastor Craig Groeschel. Groeschel, pastor of LifeChurch.tv, modified the material for use in a book on marriage. That first book went out of print but a newer book still includes the material and the publisher did make the correction.
Murphy learned of the situation through listening to a sermon where the preacher quoted his material. When Murphy told the pastor about the citation, the pastor didn’t believe him!
In January 2014, I noted that Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins Christian added Dan Allender’s name to the Acknowledgments section of Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage. Use of Allender’s styles of relating without citation was one of the early allegations of plagiarism made by Janet Mefferd after the infamous November, 2013 interview.
In my post demonstrating the addition of Allender’s name to the Acknowledgments section, I expressed my view that the publisher should also add a footnote to the section where Allender’s material was used. Now I see that sometime since that post a footnote has been included along with a mention of Allender in the text of Real Marriage (although with an error in grammar). See below for the before and after images:
This modification vindicates the concerns expressed at the time and is yet another indication that the statement from Tyndale House about plagiarism in Driscoll’s books was inadequate. For future reference, publishers can use this chart to find a substantial number of other corrections that should be made. For instance, Crossway publisher has yet to correct Driscoll’s use of Allender’s conceptualization in Death By Love.
In January, I pointed out that a section of Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll seemed quite similar to a passage from Leland Ryken’s book Worldly Saints (as well as a couple of other sources). As it turns out, the publisher, Harper Collins Christian, has now corrected the section in question by quoting and footnoting the section of Ryken’s book I identified. Nearly all of the problems I identified have been addressed (although a couple of problems remain, see below) in the Google version of Real Marriage. See the earlier post for the details.
I have the entire section with before and after images side-by-side here. To illustrate, here is a short section from page 115 of Real Marriage (see this link for the entire two page section):
Unfortunately, the publisher did not correct the factual errors in this section. As I pointed out in my January post, it was probably Benedict who rolled in the thorns, not Jerome. The bigger problem is Driscoll’s misreading of the legend of Francis of Assisi. Driscoll’s version claims:
Saint Francis made women out of snow and then caressed them in order to quiet the lust that burned in him.
As I point out in another post, the legend of Francis and his snow family is an old one which in the original doesn’t sound like this R-rated version. Driscoll’s paraphrase departs significantly from his probable sources and from the original story. It is surprising that the publisher didn’t correct these factual problems along with adding the footnotes.
Harper Collins Christian continues to vindicate the allegations of plagiarism by quoting and footnoting the original sources. Tyndale, we’re looking at you now.
In December 2013, I documented the presence of copied material from an InterVarsity Press reference book in Mark Driscoll’s book, Who Do You Think You Are? The material from a Dictionary of Paul and His Letters was copied without citation from a Docent Research Group report on Ephesians. See that post for more details.
Now the publisher has addressed the plagiarized material by adding footnotes to the book with the proper reference to Clinton Arnold’s article in the Dictionary. The changes haven’t shown up in the Google or Kindle version, but can be seen via the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. Here is the before and after image:
Footnotes have been added to properly source the material that was unsourced previously.
I wonder how expensive it is to make all of these corrections.
For an interactive chart with all of the plagiarism and other citation problems to date, click here.
To see all posts on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, click here.
Note: This post contains two articles in one. First, I am posting another guest contribution from Becky Garrison, this time highlighting a February 5, 2009 chapel speech at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC where Mark Driscoll presented nine distinctions between the gospel and religion. Those who know Tim Keller’s work will recognize in Driscoll’s sermon a central theme of Keller’s preaching and ministry going back many years. Garrison again raises the issue of plagiarism using Mars Hill’s and Driscoll’s own standards.
Curious about the matter, I listened to the speech and compared Driscoll and Keller. My comparison is presented after Garrison’s article and leads me to believe that Driscoll should have alerted his audience that he was preaching Keller’s themes and in some cases specific points from Keller’s work.
Mark Driscoll’s Citation Errors Show Up in Preaching Tim Keller’s Material
By Becky Garrison
Mark Driscoll’s plagiarism in his books is by now well documented. However, the spotlight should now come to his sermons. Case in point: during a speech delivered at Southeastern Seminary on February 5, 2009, Driscoll apparently based the bulk of his talk on the work of fellow megachurch pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Manhattan. An analysis of Driscoll’s and Keller’s nine points expounding on the theme of why the gospel is incompatible with religion reveals that Driscoll’s list contains at least four points that are very similar to Keller’s points. At no time in Driscoll’s talk is Tim Keller mentioned as the originator of this gospel versus religion comparison.
Even though Keller’s book Gospel in Life study guide (Zondervan) summarizing his bullet points did not come out until 2010, Keller has preached on these concepts since at least 2003. Also, in a 2007 letter to Mars Hill Church members, Driscoll discussed seeking counsel with Keller about the difficulties of running an urban church and cited Keller’s work as a resource. Clearly Driscoll followed Keller’s work prior to delivering this 2009 sermon. Three years later, Mars Hill Church’s Resurgence blog posted a downloadable poster of Keller’s work, though they failed to acknowledge Driscoll’s earlier appropriation of this material without proper credit.
To date, neither Redeemer Presbyterian nor Zondervan have responded to emails asking for their response to these latest questions about the authenticity of Driscoll’s sermons. However, in a 2010 interview with The Gospel Coalition, Keller spoke about the problems of preachers who plagiarize in their sermons. “If he takes some preaching theme word for word from someone else, or if all the headings almost in the same words are taken from someone else’s sermon, or if he reproduces an illustration almost phrase by phrase—then he should give attribution.”
Here at Patheos, Warren Throckmorton points to the FAQ posted on the Mars Hill Church’s website which concurs with Keller’s assessment.
IF I USE MATERIAL FROM ONE OF PASTOR MARK’S SERMON’S DO I NEED TO CITE HIM AS THE SOURCE OF THAT MATERIAL?
Yes. If you don’t cite him, you are plagiarizing. If you use content from one of Pastor Mark’s sermons or HERE from one of his books, you need to attribute the content (whether it is a quote or paraphrase) to Pastor Mark. Also, even though we make transcripts available of our sermons, this does not mean you can take the transcript and deliver the sermon as though it is your own. This too is plagiarism.
The same answer applies to your use of sermon content from any other pastors and any of our blog posts.
Then on page 105 in his book with Gerry Breshears, Vintage Church, Driscoll said
Do not speak anyone else’s messages. Doing so amounts to plagiarism, unless you get permission…If you use the work of others, you are not a teacher, and you should quit your job and do anything but speak.
All these problems may not seem to be nefarious when viewed in isolation. After all, a quick skim of the vast majority of books and speeches penned by hipster Christian author/speaker/pastors reveals they frequently quote their peers (though unlike Driscoll they tend to at least cross reference each other). However, given the pattern of publishing and preaching misbehavior, a fair question is: when will the Christian publishing industry begin to hold Driscoll accountable for his actions?
Becky Garrison is the author of seven books, including Roger Williams’ Little Book of Virtues, and Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church. She has contributed to a range of outlets including The Guardian, Religion Dispatches, Killing the Buddha, and The Humanist.
Driscoll’s speech can be viewed here:
Below I compare Tim Keller’s material with Driscoll’s 2009 speech. Primarily, I provide the main points of distinction presented by Driscoll. He used personal illustrations but the essence of the points appears to come from Keller’s distinction between gospel and religion as demonstrated by the material from three of Keller’s books. Those familiar with Keller’s work may see other ways that the video is similar to Keller’s speaking and writing. At about 9:55, Driscoll introduces his nine ways:
Driscoll: What I want to do is share with you nine ways the gospel and religion are an antithesis and the ways in which they are contradictory and not complementary…
The first is this: Religion tells you in its various forms if you obey then God will love you, if you obey then God will love you. The gospel says, because God loves you, you want to obey Him. See religion says if you try hard enough, if you do better, if you do a good job, then God will love you.
Keller: RELIGION: I obey, therefore I’m accepted. THE GOSPEL: I’m accepted, therefore I obey. (Gospel in Life Study Guide, 16; Gospel Christianity Leader’s Guide, 2-3)
Driscoll: Number two, religion is prone to see good people and bad people…the gospel sees bad people and Jesus.
Keller: Jesus does not divide the world into the moral “good guys” and the immoral “bad guys.”… The gospel is distinct from the other two approaches: In its view, everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, everyone is called to recognize this and change. By contrast, elder brothers divide the world in two: “The good people (like us) are in and the bad people, who are the real problem with the world, are out.” (Prodigal God, 44-45)
Driscoll: Number three, religion is about getting from God. It’s ultimately idolatry. The gospel is about getting God.
Keller: RELIGION: I obey God in order to get things from God. THE GOSPEL: I obey God to get to God, to delight and resemble him. (GILSG, 16)
In religion, we go to God because he is useful for getting the things our heart most wants….In the gospel, we go to God because he is beautiful. We go simply to get God himself. We want to sense his presence and we know that living a life imitating him is the way to do that. (GCLG, 4)
Driscoll: Number four, religion sees hardship as punishment…The gospel doesn’t see hardship as punishment, it sees it as loving correction from a good dad.
Keller: RELIGION: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe, like Job’s friends that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life. THE GOSPEL: When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while he may allow this for my training, he will exercise his fatherly love within my trial. (GILSG, 16)
Driscoll: Number five, religion is very aware of other people’s sins, the gospel is very aware of my own sin.
Religious people like to confess the sins of others. Gospel people are willing to confess their own sin. Religious people love that plank-speck game. Look, I see in your eyes sawdust. Two by four, out of your head, totally oblivious. Jesus makes fun of religious people, their inconsistency and hypocrisy. That’s why they kill him.
Keller: RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to “the other.” THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for his enemies and who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace, so I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. It is only by grace that I am what I am. I have no inner need to win arguments. (GILSG, 16)
It is important to consider how the gospel affects and transforms the very act of repentance. In religion, the purpose of repentance is basically to keep God happy so he will continue to bless you and answer your prayers. This means that “religious repentance” is selfish, self-righteous, and bitter all the way to the bottom. (GCLG, 4)
Driscoll: Number 6, religion is focused on the external and the visible, how do you look…the gospel is concerned with the heart.
(To me, this seems like an extension of the point before it )
Driscoll: Number seven, with religion, you’re not certain about your salvation…the gospel is about certainty.
Keller: RELIGION: Motivation is based on fear and insecurity. THE GOSPEL: Motivation is based on grateful joy. (GILSG, 16)
Driscoll: Number eight, religion is about self-righteousness. This is the root of all religion. The gospel is about gift-righteousness; this leads to humility…Religion is about me, and how good I am, and how much I do and I do more than you and I give more than you and I’m better than you.
Keller: Religious repentance is self-righteous. The repentance easily becomes a form of atoning for the sin. Religious repentance often becomes a form of self-flagellation in which we convince God (and ourselves) that we are so truly miserable and regretful that we deserve to be forgiven. (GCLG, 4)
RELIGION: My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work or how moral I am, and so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to “the other.” THE GOSPEL: My identity and self-worth are centered on the one who died for his enemies and who was excluded from the city for me. I am saved by sheer grace, so I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. It is only by grace that I am what I am. I have no inner need to win arguments. (GILSG, 16)
Driscoll: Number nine, religion results in pride or despair…the gospel leads to holy happiness.
Keller: RELIGION: My self-view swings between two poles: If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel insecure, inadequate, and not confident. I feel like a failure. THE GOSPEL: My self-view is not based on a view of myself as a moral achiever. In Christ I am “simul iustus et peccator”—simultaneously sinful and yet accepted in Christ. I am so bad he had to die for me and I am so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper and deeper humility and confidence at the same time, neither swaggering nor sniveling.
RELIGION: Since I look to my own pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols. It may be my talents, my moral record, my personal discipline, my social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them so they serve as my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, regardless of what I say I believe about God. THE GOSPEL: I have many good things in my life: family, work, spiritual disciplines, etc. But none of these good things is an ultimate end for me. None of them is something I absolutely have to have, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despondency such things can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost. (GILSG, 16)
GCLG = Keller, T. (2003). Gospel Christianity Leader’s Guide. New York: Redeemer Presbyterian Church.
Keller, T. (2008). The prodigal God: Recovering the heart of the Christian faith. New York: Dutton.
GILSG = Keller, T. (2010). Gospel in Life Study Guide. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Unless Driscoll claims he originated this distinction and Keller took it from him, it is hard to see how this is not plagiarism. Perhaps this is the only sermon like this. I don’t know. However, there does appear to be a pattern which should be acknowledged and corrected.
Here is another sermon segment that remixes Keller.
Since November 2013, Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll has been at the center of a controversy surrounding “citation errors” in his books. In addition to other bloggers (e.g. Janet Mefferd, Wenatchee the Hatchet), I have examined various claims and located several problems which involve multiple books and publishers. Publishers Crossway, NavPress and Thomas Nelson have announced that they are in various stages of examining and/or correcting these problems.
Click the image below to go to an identical table with live links to my posts on the subject. Just click on the cells with letters in them to read the relevant post. Note the key below which explains the four types of problems found. Following the table is a listing of the books involved. I should note that this chart might need to be updated if new material surfaces.
R= Recycled Material (using material from a previous work without citation)
P= Plagiarism (as defined in the MLA Style Manual)
FE= Factual Error
G = Ghostwriting
Allender, D. (2008). The wounded heart: Hope for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. Carol Stream, IL:NavPress.
Chapman, G. (2003). Covenant marriage: Building communication & intimacy. Nashville: B & H Publishing.
David, D., & Brannon, R. (1976). The male sex role: Our culture’s blueprint of manhood, and what it’s done for us lately. In D.David & R. Brannon (Eds.),The forty nine percent majority. New York: Random House.
Hawthorne, G. F., Martin, R. P., Reid, D. R. (Eds.). (1993). Dictionary of Paul and his letters: A compendium of contemporary biblical scholarship. Wheaton, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Holcomb, J., & Holcomb, L. (2011). Rid of my disgrace: Hope and healing for victims of sexual assault. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
Jones, P. (1999). Gospel truth/pagan lies: Can you tell the difference? Enumclaw, WA: Winepress Publishing.
Jones, P. (2010). One or two: Seeing a world of difference. Escondido, CA: Main Entry Editions.
Ryken, L. (1990). Worldly saints: The puritans as they really were. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Wenham, G., Motyer, J. A., Caron, D., France, R. T. (Eds.) (1994). New bible dictionary: 21st century edition. Wheaton, IL: InterVarsity Press.
Driscoll, M., & Chamberlain, M. (2013). Call to resurgence: Will Christianity have a funeral or a future? Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
Driscoll, M. (2013). Who do you think you are? Finding your true identity in Christ. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Driscoll, M., & Driscoll, G. (2012). Real marriage: The truth about sex, friendship, and life together. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Driscoll, M., & Breshears, G. (2011). Doctrine: What Christians should believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
Driscoll, M. (2009). Trial: 8 witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter. Seattle, WA: Mars Hill Church.
Driscoll, M. (2009). Religion saves: And nine other misconceptions. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
Driscoll, M., & Breshears, G. (2008). Death by love: Letters from the cross. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
Additional posts on the topic:
Would Mark Driscoll Fail A Course In His Own School?
Mark Driscoll And His Church On Plagiarism
Spokesperson: Thomas Nelson Working With Driscolls to Address Real Marriage Citation Issues
Publisher Thomas Nelson Alters Mark Driscoll’s Book Real Marriage To Correct Citation Problems
Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy Rated #3 Plagiarism Scandal of 2013
Janet Mefferd Breaks Silence in Slate Article on Driscoll Controversy
Mars Hill Church, Mark Driscoll and the Case of the Disappearing Links
Mars Hill Church Alters Statement on Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy (UPDATED)
IVP Says Bible Commentary Improperly Appeared In Book by Mark Driscoll; Mars Hill Church Responds, Blames Researcher Mistakes for Errors
Mark Driscoll and Tyndale House Release Statement of Apology to Christian Post
I want to thank Megan Hurst for her assistance in preparing the table.
The controversy over Mark Driscoll’s use of material written by others started with Janet Mefferd’s accusation that Driscoll plagiarized Peter Jones concepts and descriptions of one-ism and two-ism. According to Jones in his book One or two: Seeing a world of difference (see how easy that is!), one-ism is the view that everything is of one essence. As Jones says in the book, “everything is a piece of the divine.” Two-ism recognizes a distinction between the uncreated (God) and created (everything else). The self-contained, uncreated God determines the course of the creation.
Jones claims responsibility for coining these terms. On page one of One or Two, Jones claims:
I briefly examined this issue last month by asking plagiarism expert Neil Holdway to comment on Driscoll’s use of Jones material in Driscoll’s book, A Call to Resurgence. Holdway opined that Driscoll’s brief note citing Jones was insufficient given Driscoll’s extensive use of Jones’ material. Furthermore, Driscoll’s use of Jones’ work is not limited to A Call to Resurgence. Without citation of Jones’ books, Driscoll refers to one-ism and two-ism on the Mars Hill and Resurgence websites. He also covers the same material in his 2011 book with Gerry Breshears, Doctrine. While he refers to conversations and audio of Jones in Doctrine, for some reason, Driscoll fails to cite sources which would make clear that Jones’ coined the terms and developed the concepts.
First, on The Resurgence website, Driscoll is credited with authorship of a post which appears to be the basis for a similar section in his Doctrine book.
The truth is what we will call two-ism. Two-ism is the biblical doctrine that the Creator and creation are separate and that creation is subject to the Creator. Visually, you can think of this in terms of two circles with one being God the creator and the other containing all of his creation…
The lie is what we will call one-ism. One-ism is the pagan and idolatrous doctrine that there is no distinction between Creator and creation, and/or a denial that there is a Creator…
To learn more about one-ism and two-ism and see how it plays out in all kinds of ways in our church and culture, come to the Exchange conference. Mark Driscoll, Peter Jones, Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung, and others will teach you how to distinguish the Truth from the Lie in all of life.
The only reference to Jones is in the commercial for the Exchange conference. If one didn’t know better, one would think that Driscoll (“we will call…”) and/or the others were co-creators of the concepts.
Another reference to Jones’ work can be found on the Mars Hill website (May, 2010).
Pastor Mark has been examining the idea of One-ism vs. Two-ism recently over on The Resurgence. Make sure you check out his previous post, in which we saw how the Truth and the Lie of Romans 1:25 can be understood as a simple contrast between one-ism and two-ism. As a worldview, one-ism is antithetical to Christian two-ism because it seeks to place everything in the one circle.
Driscoll then reproduces a long section from his book Doctrine, where he lists many of the same concepts that Jones does in his books. At the end of this excerpt from Doctrine, Driscoll sources his book but not Jones:
From Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe, pp. 344–346. To learn more about one-ism and two-ism and see how it plays out in all kinds of ways in our church and culture, come to the Exchange conference. Mark Driscoll, Peter Jones, Francis Chan, Kevin DeYoung, and others will teach you how to distinguish the Truth from the Lie in all of life. Exchange is June 17 & 18 in San Diego, California. Find out more.
Then in the book Doctrine on pages 342-346, Driscoll and Breshears use the material from The Resurgence website. This same material, paraphrased lightly, can also be found in A Call to Resurgence.
The truth is what we will call two-ism. Two-ism is the biblical doc-trine that the Creator and creation are separate and that creation is subjectto the Creator. Visually, you can think of this in terms of two circles with one being God the creator and the other containing all of his creation (seeChart 11.1).
The lie is what we will call one-ism. One-ism is the pagan and idola-trous doctrine that there is no distinction between Creator and creation,and/or a denial that there is a Creator.
In Doctrine with footnote 10, Driscoll and Breshears do give some credit to Jones:
10 Peter Jones has spent a great deal of his time explaining this issue to me (Mark). Jones is one of the leading experts in the world on paganism, and much of what ensues in this section has been gleaned from time with him, for which I am very thankful. His thoughts on one-ism can be found at http://www.theresurgence.com/peter_jones_2008-01-08_audio_walking_in_the_land_of_blur and http://www.theresurgence.com/ peter_jones_2008-01-08_video_ walking_in_the_land_of_blur
Driscoll and Breshears published their book in 2011. Jones’ book One or Two was published in 2010. How hard would it have been to cite One or Two? Instead, Driscoll sends the reader to Mars Hill’s Resurgence website. Currently, the first link works but doesn’t mention one-ism or two-ism. The second link has been scrubbed. What is missing in all of this is a clear statement that the terms were coined by Jones with citations to Jones’ books properly crediting him.
As I noted in my first post on this subject, Driscoll does not ignore Jones. In fact, the conference referred to above featured Jones and Driscoll directs people to The Resurgence website where Jones’ audio and video can be found. A persistent reader might eventually figure out that the material credited to Driscoll in his website posts and books directly come from Jones. However, it is hard to see how one could come to this conclusion easily. In fact, it is unnecessarily difficult.
Stories passed along from one person to another often vary significantly from the original telling. Over time, paraphrasing the work of other people can lead to some interesting but incorrect stories being passed down as fact. Mark Driscoll’s books Real Marriage and Religion Saves contain illustrations of this telephone game in writing.
On January 21, I wrote about remarkable similarities between Driscoll’s Real Marriage and Leland Ryken’s book Worldly Saints. In that post, I also noted another book apparently consulted by Driscoll based on the similarity of wording regarding a story about St. Francis of Assisi. On page 115, of Real Marriage, Driscoll claims:
Saint Francis made women out of snow and then caressed them in order to quiet the lust that burned in him.
This phrasing seems much like Shadia Drury’s wording in her book Terror and Civilization. On page 96, Drury writes:
Saint Francis tried to cool the lust that burned within him by caressing figures made of snow.
In her book, Drury cites a 1960 book by William Lazareth titled Luther on the Christian Home as the source of that information. On page nine of that book, a paragraph briefly surveys the views of the church fathers on sexuality:
You will notice that this survey from Lazareth resembles various statements in Real Marriage and in another Driscoll book Religion Saves (click the links to see those books). The footnote in Lazareth leads to volume three of the six-volume Works of Martin Luther published in Germany between 1912-1921. The paragraph above is Lazareth’s translation of a paragraph by Luther dated 1538. Luther says Francis made “schneeballen” (snowballs) and “herzet und kusset” (hearted and kissed) them until his lust passed. However, the story is told differently by Celano, Francis’ biographer. Celano wrote:
How the devil, calling to Francis, tempted him with lust, and how the saint overcame the temptation
116 At the hermitage of the brothers at Sartiano, he who is always envious of the children of God, presumed to do the following against the saint. For seeing the saint continuing to increase in holiness and not neglecting today’s profit for yesterday’s, he called to Francis at prayer one night in his cell, saying three times: “Francis, Francis, Francis.” He answered, saying: “What do you want?” And the other: “There is no sinner in the world whom the Lord will not forgive if he is converted; but whoever destroys himself by harsh penance will not find mercy forever.” Immediately the saint recognized the cleverness of his enemy by a revelation, how he was trying to bring him back to lukewarmness. What then? The enemy did not stop short of inflicting upon him another struggle. For seeing that he could not thus conceal his snare, he prepared another snare, namely, the enticement of the flesh. But in vain, for he who had seen through the craftiness of the spirit could not be tricked by the flesh. The devil therefore tempted him with a most severe temptation of lust. But the blessed father, as soon as he noticed it, took off his clothing and beat himself very severely with his cord, saying: “See, brother ass, thus is it becoming for you to remain, thus is it becoming for you to bear the whip. The tunic belongs to the order; stealing is not allowed. If you want to go your way,
117 But when he saw that the temptation did not leave him in spite of the scourging, even though all his members were marked with welts, he opened his cell and went out into the garden and cast himself naked into a deep pile of snow. Then gathering handfuls of snow, he made from it seven lumps like balls. And setting them before him, he began to speak to his body: “Behold,” he said, “this larger one is your wife; these four are your two sons and your two daughters; the other two are your servant and your maid whom you must have to serve you. Hurry,” he said, “and clothe them all, for they are dying of cold. But if caring for them in so many ways troubles you, be solicitous for serving God alone.” The devil then departed quickly in confusion, and the saint returned to his cell glorifying God. A certain spiritual brother, who was praying at the time, saw the whole thing by the light of the moon. But when the saint found out later that this brother had seen him that night, he was greatly distressed and commanded him to tell the thing to no one as long as he lived in this world.
So passing down the story from Celano to Luther, and then from Luther to Lazareth, from Lazareth to Drury (or Driscoll) and from (possibly Drury) to Driscoll, the story changed a lot. Apparently, Luther adding the part about affection being applied to snowball people. By the time Driscoll told the story, St. Francis was making snow women to fondle. While I don’t necessarily believe the original story, I think the strange retelling of the story may say more about Rev. Driscoll than St. Francis.
Before I leave this, I want to mention another odd story in Religion Saves on pages 186-187. According to Driscoll,
In the Victorian age, modestly became so extreme that long tablecloths were put over tables to hide the table legs for fear that men would see them and think of women’s legs and then lust.
This tale is generally considered to be false and may have come from the notes of one of two French writers, either Flora Tristan or M. Larcher (Pierre-Henri Larcher). According to this 1860 essay in Charles Dickens’ magazine All The Year Round (Vol. 4, p. 142-144), these French writers had misconceptions of the English. Dickens (or another unnamed writer) makes fun of the observations of the French writers by giving account of all the characteristics supposedly displayed by the English. The relevant section is here:
Cutting the leaves of this veracious volume in a sleepy, indolent kind of manner, I am suddenly aroused by finding that I never take off my hat to a lady, but only to a horse the reason being, that a woman causes me to spend money, and a horse causes me to gain it:wherefore I love, pat, and caress my horse, but in no wise love, pat, or caress my wife ; nor do I salute any lady whatsoever, but only my favourite racer. I also find that my wife and sisters put trousers on the legs of their pianos, chairs, and tables; that they never talk of the leg of a fowl, or ask for a slice of leg of mutton, but prefer a modest request for the limb of a chicken, and desire a little slice of that limb of mutton. Anything else would be “very shocking,” and would put English prudery quite out of countenance.
This English magazine article appears to sarcastically dismiss the French account. I can’t find any historical accounts which support the claim. While it may be a small historical point, it is not possible to research Driscoll’s claim since he does not provide a source. I suspect a telephone game style changing of the original observations to the questionable story told by Driscoll.