Thomas Nelson Contract: Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage Advance Was $400,000

Cash
Image courtesy of sheelamohan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Wenatchee the Hatchet has a copy of the 2011 agreement between Mark and Grace Driscoll’s LLC (On Mission, LLC) and Thomas Nelson to publish Real Marriage. Dusting off my Mars Hill sources, I conclude it is legit. In it, we learn:
-The Driscolls received an advance of $400,000.
-The book had a working title of “A New Marriage with the Same Spouse.”
-The contract calls for the Driscolls to pay for corrections. I wonder if they did since corrections due to citation errors had to be made.
-Mars Hill could have gotten thousands of books through Driscoll at an 80% discount. Instead, Mars Hill’s contract with Result Source called for the church to purchase 11,000 copies at an adjusted retail price so the numbers would count toward the New York Times best seller list. According to this contract, those royalties went to the Driscolls via On Mission.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that being the pastor of a church willing to develop a marketing campaign for your book (see that also at WtH) which includes a preaching series (with research done by consultants) and full support from a marketing team (paid for by tithes) is a really sure way to become wealthy.
This reminds me of the qualms expressed by the Communications Team at Mars Hill Church in 2011 before the executive elders committed church money to the Real Marriage campaign.
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Mark Driscoll isn’t the only one who found financial gain in megachurch service. David Jeremiah does something like this once a year.

Sutton Turner in 2012 on Mars Hill Church's Financial Situation: "We are in a big mess"

It is my belief that the reason we have such poor giving by our Church is the lack of stewardship in the Church staff. Churches with excellent stewardship see greater giving because people know that every dollar they give will go towards the mission of the Church. It is very clear this has not been the case at Mars Hill Church.
Sutton Turner

On Monday, Mars Hill Church leaders told the congregation that the church is “now facing the most serious budget challenge in our history.” However, according to a 2012 Mars Hill Church memo from Sutton Turner to his fellow executive elders, the church has been operating from crisis to crisis for quite some time.  At the time, he wrote: “we are in a big mess. It is much worse that I could have ever imagined.” Perhaps, this assessment in 2012 provides perspective on the severity of the current “most serious budget challenge” the church history. 
Turner’s March 17, 2012 memo outlines his perception of Mars Hill Church as “a very broken and fundamentally financially unsustainable organization.” Turner identifies numerous problems including a culture “that is plagued by poor stewardship, entitlement, December’s Hail Mary strategy, and using of the Church to build a personal ministry.”
Turner delineates reasons for his opinions throughout the memo. For now, I want to focus on two issues, the Result Source campaign and what Turner called the “December hail Mary strategy.”
On the Result Source expense to rig the New York Times count of book sales, Turner notes that the church spent heavily on that campaign along with launching six new locations.

Then you put on top of these 6 churches launches a RM campaign and you basically have a company going to World War III. It is all hands on deck, spend whenever is needed and let’s win the War.

The decision to “spend whatever is needed” is an unexamined aspect of the Real Marriage campaign. Mars Hill Church had finished 2011 strong because of the 2011 “December hail Mary strategy.” Over the next 3 months, the church burned through that money to the point that in March Sutton Turner woke up in the middle of the night and wrote a doomsday memo to his colleagues. Media and communications staff were given the tasks of promoting the Real Marriage book, including scheduling and servicing speaking engagements, all on church time. In the memo, Turner complains about this aspect of Mars Hill culture:

Many times these personal ministries are done during staff time and using church resources. This actually encouraged when I first came on staff as it was explained to me that staff was able to take MHC time to do consulting work to supplement their income. At the very highest levels of the organization this was taking place and reproduced throughout the organization. So as a result, all staff members saw this as acceptable and now the established culture within Mars Hill Church.

There is no higher level of the organization than Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner had already participated in that culture by signing the contract with Result Source in October 2011 to rig the bestseller lists. On one hand, Turner is correct that ministers should not use the church to benefit them financially, but on the other hand, he had gone along with just such a scheme on a massive scale. At the end of the memo, he returns to the launch of six churches and the Real Marriage campaign as being a prime factor for the hole they were in.

The hole we are in today was set in course when we decided to plant 6 churches in 5 months on top of the Real Marriage campaign. Too much work for an 8,000 in weekly attendance church to undertake when there was a culture within the church staff of poor stewardship and a church body that did not financially support the church.

Another aspect of this memo that really stands out is the admission that the December end-of-the-year giving campaigns were designed to make up for giving shortfalls. Turner wrote:

From what I can tell by this past year’s budget, we have had a strategy of completing a Hail Mary every December with a big giving campaign. This has allowed the negative monthly financial performance to continue while we count on a Hail Mary giving push in December to make up for the annual deficit. Givers are giving to grow the body and plant more churches, but given our spending habits, their gifts just help us catch up. With the growth of the church, the 2011 version only allows for enough cash to run through June 2012 and is not a sustainable plan for December 2012.

Even though the church told the congregation that the December offerings were to be over and above tithes in order to fund extra projects, the money was not used in that manner.  Even though Turner complained about this fundraising style, the church maintained the “December hail Mary strategy” during the end of the 2013 with glowing descriptions of a Jesus Festival to be held in August. That idea was discarded without notice very early in 2014.
Closer to the time of Turner’s memo was the 2011 end of the year appeal for $6.4 million for, among other things, the planting of four churches (happened), and to fund an animated children’s series (never happened). However, by March 2012, Turner was sounding the alarm that the church was in serious financial shape. He summarized the predicament with the following image:
financialchallenge2011
If Mars Hill Church is now in “the most serious budget challenge in our history” then things now must be much worse than anyone has stated publicly. Given the rapid acquisition of properties, Mars Hill could be very low on cash and be in danger of the same kind of problems that existed in 2012. My guess is October is a deadline of sorts along the lines of point #3 above.
My suspicion is that the past is prologue to the current situation. Turner predicted that the situation was unsustainable and it appears he was correct.
I will probably revisit this memo in a future post but for now, let me end where I began. I believe Turner was correct when wrote:

It is my belief that the reason we have such poor giving by our Church is the lack of stewardship in the Church staff. Churches with excellent stewardship see greater giving because people know that every dollar they give will go towards the mission of the Church. It is very clear this has not been the case at Mars Hill Church.

However, very little has changed since he wrote those words. The church has steadfastly refused to disclose Global Fund spending, the church attempted to keep information about the Global Fund hidden, executive personnel costs are closely guarded secrets, and up until recently, members and some elders could not get a look at bylaws. It is still true that “churches with excellent stewardship see greater giving because people know that every dollar they give will go towards the mission of the Church.” Perhaps even Turner would agree that, even in the present season, “this has not been the case at Mars Hill Church.”
Read the memo here.

Yet Another Citation Error in Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage

Pubishers have three options when plagiarism and/or errors are discovered. Such problems can be ignored, corrected or in extreme cases the book can be pulled from publication. In the case of David Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies, there were so many errors that correction was not a viable option so the book was pulled by publisher Thomas Nelson. In the case of Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage, Thomas Nelson elected to correct the errors. I found several such errors in Real Marriage, most of which Thomas Nelson corrected (e.g., here).
An error I did not find was identified by Peter Lumpkins when Real Marriage was released in January 2012. I recently learned of this error and plan to add it to my grid of other problems.  In summary, Lumpkins discovered that Driscoll added a word to a quote as if the word was a part of the original quote. The quote was sourced properly but Driscoll added a word to make it more supportive of his premise.
 
On page 172 in Real Marriage, Driscoll says the following:
RealMarriageOSLongman
 
The lengthy quote is from Tremper Longman’s book on Song of Solomon and is footnoted. However, in Longman’s book, as Lumpkin demonstrates, the word “oral” is not a part of the quote.  Longman says: “Thus, this may be a subtle and tasteful allusion to the intimacies of sex.” (p. 195).
In another place in Real Marriage (p. 186), the same sentence is cited but the word “oral” is in brackets. This is a better practice but given that the word is unbracketed here, many readers would probably believe the the exact quote is as Driscoll presented it.
Lumpkins discovered another problem but it appears that the publisher corrected it. Go read his post for the details.

Innovate4Jesus Scrubs Bio of Mars Hill Spokesman Without Explanation

On Monday, I pointed out that Mars Hill Spokesman Justin Dean claimed a role in helping Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage get to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Dean’s bio on a website called Innovate4Jesus touted the accomplishment even though it is now known that the book was guaranteed an appearance on the NYT list due to the work of consulting firm Result Source. Result Source used subterfuge to purchase books in order to lift Real Marriage to the top spot on the list. Earlier today, Innovate4Jesus scrubbed Dean’s bio of reference to  the bestseller campaign. On Monday, Dean’s bio appeared as follows:
JustinDeanOneNYT
Now it looks like this:
JustinDeanScrub
 
No explanation given.
Innovate4Jesus appears to have a cozy relationship with Mars Hill Church. Mark Driscoll has several videos embedded on the site and there is a Mars Hill channel. While this probably won’t last long, Driscoll’s bio on the site also touts the NYT Bestseller status of Real Marriage.
InnovateDriscoll
 

Mars Hill Church Spokesman Touts Result Source Aided Real Marriage NYT Bestseller Campaign as Accomplishment

In his bio at a website called “Innovate4Jesus,” Mars Hill Church Spokesman Justin Dean touts his experience helping to get Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List:
JustinDeanOneNYT
On the Innovate4Jesus website, “#1 New York Time Bestseller” links to the January 22, 2012 NYT list for “Hard Cover Advice” books on which the Driscolls’ book Real Marriage placed at #1 for one week. See below for the text copied as it is now on the I4J website.

ABOUT JUSTIN DEAN

With over thirteen years of experience, Justin has been recognized as an innovative, entrepreneurial, results-focused leader in the marketing, advertising and public relations industry. He has held senior management roles for some of the most revolutionary start-ups, as well as larger organizations such as Cox Enterprises, Home Depot Supply, and Autotrader.com.

Marketing projects led by Justin include several best-selling books including a #1 New York Times Bestseller, award winning advertising campaigns, and web tools used by millions of users every day.

Justin currently leads the communications and social media teams for one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most innovative churches in the country. He enjoys technology, design and connecting people to new things. You can find him in Seattle, WA where he lives with his wife and three kids.

Connect with Justin at justindean.com, on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or email him.

In a tweet earlier this afternoon, Becky Garrison asked Mr. Dean to elaborate on his role in the marketing campaign. I am also curious about how Mars Hill staff (was it just Mr. Dean or were others involved?) were included in the marketing campaign. The relevance here is that paid church staff were apparently involved in promoting the Real Marriage campaign. As has been widely reported (e.g., here and here), Mars Hill Church contracted with Result Source to purchase books valued at over $200,000. In the contract with Mars Hill Church, Result Source guaranteed that their method of gaming the New York Times Bestseller list would result in Real Marriage hitting #1 on the Bestseller list or else the additional $25,000 fee would be refunded.

Dean’s bio raises questions about who actually implemented the campaign. Dean seems to imply in his bio that he was in charge. I am also curious about how much time paid Mars Hill staff put into assisting Result Source or in other ways helped get Driscolls’ book to the status guaranteed by the contract. If staff assisted in gathering names and addresses for use by Result Source, or assisted in other functions related to the campaign, then it is likely that the real cost of the Real Marriage campaign greatly exceeded the $210,000-250,000 figures frequently reported and which are based simply on the Result Source contract.

Dean may have been involved in other ways such as developing ads or promotional material and those materials may have been very good. However, since it is now known that the Result Source campaign guaranteed #1 status, taking credit for the result seems to be a hollow accomplishment to tout.

After the many mixed signals Mars Hill Church has sent about the Result Source-Real Marriage campaign, it is surprising that anyone associated with Mars Hill Church leadership would extol it.

Forced Out for Asking Questions: Dalton Roraback's Mars Hill Church Story

Until recently, Dalton Roraback was a coach at Mars Hill Church. Coaches provide mentoring to Community Group leaders. Community Groups provide the context for relationship building and alignment within Mars Hill.
Like many Mars Hill members, Roraback had questions after hearing about the many controversies involving the church in recent months. As a long time member of MHC, Roraback knew many of the leaders and began to ask them to explain recent events. Finally, Roraback asked what turned out to be the wrong questions and found himself out of a position. He was relieved of his position because he asked questions.
After I heard about Roraback’s situation, I asked if he could summarize his experience. He did so and you can read the entire statement here. To help tell the story, I have pulled out a few excerpts:

I want to start this off by saying I had originally decided not to go public with my story.  I figured if the Elders at Mars Hill want to accuse me of being divisive then I wouldn’t add any fuel to that charge by going on the Internet and doing some kind of tell-all.  I thought all that people needed to know was that I was accused of being divisive and asked to step down, and that I had submitted my resignation as a member of Mars Hill.
That changed only hours later when I heard the following news.
“Elder Phil Poirier at MH Everett has been removed (“disqualified”) for refusing to sign the new “Unity of Mission” contract. They are all being required to get permission from the BOAA before being allowed to participate in any church within a ten mile radius of an existing Mars Hill location.”
I was stunned.  I had just told my Head Coach – sorry, my ex-Head Coach – that I wasn’t going to go public with my story, but the news about Pastor Phil made me realize that not to do so would be to do a disservice to the truth, to all the people like Pastor Phil, and to the many others who have been harmed, slandered, and spat out of the Mars Hill machine.  So after confirming that this news was true I decided to speak out.

More information about the “unity of mission” clause is coming in a future post. Essentially, it is a non-competition agreement.

Enter 2014.  I was now a Coach and was excited and ready to do my best to lead the three CG leaders and do whatever it was that God wished me to do.  My head coach was a good, godly man and a friend.  I felt like great things were going to happen, and that God was going to use us in awesome ways for His glory.
And then the double-whammy of the ResultSource fiasco and Dave Kraft’s public charges against Mark Driscoll hit the fan.
Now, Dave Kraft had (and has) a stellar reputation in the Mars Hill community.  I had trained under him in a couple of classes back in the day, and would take him at his word – as would most of us – on just about anything.  When these two events became public, I started asking questions.  I had been around a long time and had no problem in being able to speak to many of the elders to whom I reached out. As I spoke with them, what I heard stunned me even more.  Many of them agreed with Dave Kraft, but they also understood that they had very little power as Elders, if any, and would rather work from within to try to get true accountability in place.  Some also admitted if they spoke up they would get a visit from Sutton or another Executive Elder and they would be accused of not being ‘on mission’ or not being ‘all in’, and when that happens…it means you are done as an Elder at Mars Hill.

According to Roraback, Mars Hill is having problems:

I believe we are already seeing the effects described in the Isaiah passage.  People are fleeing Mars Hill by the droves every week.  Tithing is down.  The church is in emergency mode.  In place of the old Mark who was able to lay out the Gospel with such passion, his sermons contain less about Jesus each week. Instead, we hear Mark using Scripture to make himself look like the Apostles and those who speak out against him look more like the enemies of the early church.  It’s chilling to listen to, and unfortunately, I believe that many people are completely unaware that they are being manipulated with such ease.

Recently, Roraback was in the same meeting I described here and raised some pointed questions:

But probably the worst thing I did was asking the questions listed below. They are as follows, word for word:
“Hello,
I have two questions that I’d like to humbly and respectfully submit in advance as I imagine it will require some research ahead of time.
1. What are the salaries of the Executive Elders?  And if we are not allowed to know this, why not?
2. At least once a year, the On Mission CRUT must distribute a percentage of its assets to what is termed the “non-charitable beneficiary”.  Since this is tied directly to the Real Marriage finances, who is the beneficiary of this CRUT? I would imagine much of the backlash against Mars Hill could be deflated if it could be shown that this was paid out to Mars Hill, instead of an individual or individuals who benefit directly.”
I asked these questions on The City, Mars Hill’s website, in the Bellevue Leadership forum and posted them in advance of the CG Sync so that all the meeting participant could see them in advance and there would be no option for MH leadership but to address the questions.  As it turned out, someone else brought up my questions during the latest CG Sync and the response from the elder was, ‘Why is that important?’
The answers in the room from at least three people were some form of ‘because we pay their salaries with our tithes.’  The elder who was in the hot seat on this one pushed back on this response, continuing to suggest that this is not important, but when he realized the people in the room were not in agreement, he turned to another elder who got up to explain how the process of setting the Executive Elder salary worked.  It was a nice speech, and it made it sound like there were multiple layers of oversight – just not from the thousands of members who pay their salaries, of course. Mars Hill members are not allowed to know something that any church with integrity should be willing to share, especially during times when the members have lost trust in the Executive Elders.
So they refused to answer these questions, and it did not sit well with many in the room.
Twice during this same meeting, the elder leading this meeting labeled everyone who is speaking out against Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill as people who ‘only want to hurt the gospel, the church, and Mark Driscoll’.  I called him out on that in front of everyone saying that was a misrepresentation of godly people with valid concerns, but at the end of the meeting he made the characterization again.  I’ve heard now from two different people that elders and leaders are visiting Community Groups personally and labeling anyone who speaks out on these concerns as ‘divisive’ and ‘only wanting to tear down the church’.  In other words, wolves.  Couple that with one of the latest sermons entitled ‘Empowered by the Spirit to Face Wolves,” and you get the picture.
So five days later I was sitting at Starbucks with my Head Coach for an early morning meeting, and he was telling me that the elders at Mars Hill considered me divisive and were removing me as a Coach.  I asked if I had sinned in some way, and he said no, they did not consider me in sin. They just thought that the way I was going about asking these questions was done with a ‘divisive spirit’.  They said that I didn’t have to leave Mars Hill, and that after ‘a season’ I could petition to be a Coach again and they’d consider it.  I had spent the previous three hours in prayer (I couldn’t sleep, I was pretty stressed over all of this,) and I already knew God was finally allowing me to walk away.  I let him know that my wife and I wished to submit our resignation from Mars Hill, but I implored him to fight the good fight and to not simply accept everything that he was told as truth. I asked him to reach out to others and to stand up for what is right.  I believe that he will come around, because he does listen to the Lord, and God has called him to lead. However, like me, it will probably take some time for the realization to take root.  I pray for him whenever I can, and love him and his family very much.

So questioning where tithe money goes reveals “a divisive spirit?” What does refusing to answer legitimate questions reveal? There has been some talk in recent weeks about the Board of Advisors and Accountability possibly entering a mediation process. If so, it can’t happen soon enough. Despite spiritual talk from the BOAA, it doesn’t appear that anything has changed.
The executive salaries are a closely guarded secret at Mars Hill. Sources who are in a position to know have told me that Driscoll’s salary took a dramatic jump after Sutton Turner joined the executive elder board. Estimates are between $600k and $900k. Salaries are supposed to be set via a comparison to other churches of comparable size. It seems hard to fathom that some churches set salaries in a corporate manner, but this is apparently how it is done at Mars Hill. Judging from the reaction to Roraback, the leadership of Mars Hill views the subject of salaries to be a sensitive matter.
For more on Mark Driscoll’s On Mission CRUT, see this article by James Duncan. Duncan lays out the procedures by which the profits from Real Marriage may make it back to the Driscolls.
It seems clear that the membership of Mars Hill has not moved on from the Result Source and other events.
From earlier today: Who at Mars Hill Church Authorized Church Funds to Buy a Place for Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage on the NYT Best Seller List?

Who at Mars Hill Church Authorized Church Funds to Buy a Place for Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage on the NYT Best Seller List?

Before Warren Smith’s World Magazine article in March, the story about Mars Hill Church paying a consulting firm to boost Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage to the top of the New York Times best seller list was a carefully guarded secret at the Seattle megachurch. Almost three months later, members of the church are still asking their pastors about the deal. Last week, in a meeting of Mars Hill group leaders, members asked pastors Thomas Hurst and Jason Skelton to name who was responsible for the decision to spend church money on the promotion of the Driscolls’ book. According to sources in the meeting, Hurst and Skelton told those present that Driscoll said he was not involved because he had removed himself from the decision. Hurst added that Sutton Turner, who signed the contract (read it here), was new on the job and simply signed papers put in front of him. However, according to the sources, no person was singled out as being responsible for the RSI agreement.
This narrative raises questions about who at the church authorized the RSI contract. Turner’s name is on the contract, and the invoices (see below) were addressed to Driscoll. However, if Driscoll and Turner aren’t responsible, that leaves Jamie Munson and/or Dave Bruskas, who were the other two executive elders at the time.
Relevant to the Mars Hill members’ questions, I have obtained invoices dated five days after the RSI contract was signed. The invoices were sent to Mark Driscoll from RSI requesting payment of RSI’s $25,000 fee. While it is not clear who actually saw or paid these two invoices, they raise questions about the narrative presented in the recent group leader’s meeting and Driscoll’s involvement in the arrangement.

 

When the RSI-MHC story broke, Mars Hill and Mark Driscoll floated three different statements about the use of RSI to get Driscoll’s book on the New York Times list. As noted in a previous post, the initial position of Mars Hill Church was that the partnership between RSI and Mars Hill was an “opportunity” and an “investment.” Two days later, the Board of Advisors and Accountability of MHC said the arrangement was “common” but “unwise.” Then, several days later, Mark Driscoll said he first saw the arrangement as a way to market books but had come to see it as “manipulating a book sales reporting system” and thus “wrong.” In that statement, Driscoll seemed to indicate that he was aware of the situation.
I asked Mars Hill Church who was responsible for the Result Source agreement and church spokesman Justin Dean replied:

We have received your requests, and will not be responding with any comments now or in the future.

Adding another wrinkle is a note from executive pastor Sutton Turner in response to a member who recently left the church. In response to member concern over the Result Source arrangement, Turner wrote:

As I thought and prayed about your letter this morning, please know that we realize the Results Source decision was a wrong decision and poor stewardship. I am sorry as your Pastor that I failed you. Please accept my apology, I am very sorry.
I pray that I have learned from this and the godly authority that I am under has helped me and will help me in the future.
Please forgive me for my poor stewardship, I take that very seriously as a King.
God Bless you and I wish you all the very best.
Grace and Peace to you,
Sutton Turner
Executive Elder & Executive Pastor

So who is responsible for this expenditure of church funds? The invoices raise the possibility that Driscoll paid RSI’s fee while the church put up the money for the rest of the operation. Sutton Turner claims responsibility but others provide an out for him by saying he just signed the papers. An earlier church statement says Result Source was suggested by outside counsel. As of now, the situation is not clear and the church refuses to provide an official response.
In any case, this topic continues to be of interest to Mars Hill members and I suspect they will keep raising the matter. However, doing so may lead to negative consequences. Recently, one volunteer leader was removed from his position as a coach because he questioned leaders about this issue and executive salaries. More on that story to come.
Read the contract between Mars Hill Church and Result Source, Inc to promote Real Marriage.

Mark Driscoll and Result Source: What About the Other Best Seller Lists?

By now, most people know that Mars Hill Church entered into a contract with ResultSource Inc. to place Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage on to the New York Times Best Seller List. World Magazine broke that story and then I posted the contract between MHC and RSI. Overlooked in the fallout from that story is that Real Marriage also made it on other best seller lists. According to the contract, this was by design.

Note that RSI pledged to attempt to Real Marriage on best seller lists published by the Wall Street Journal and the USA Today.

Although RSI was only obligated to make a top 15 placement on the NYT list, the other publications were mentioned as targets with expectation for success.
Initially the position of Mars Hill Church through spokesman Justin Dean was that the RSI-MHC partnership was an “opportunity” and an “investment.” Two days later, the MHC Board of Advisors and Accountability said the arrangement was “common” but “unwise.” Then, days later, Mark Driscoll said he initially saw the scheme as a way to market books but had come to see it as “manipulating a book sales reporting system” and thus “wrong.” He also said he was going to ask his publisher not to use the “#1 best seller status” on future publications. Quickly, the designation came off of his Mars Hill bio.
But what about the other best seller lists? Did he make those as well?
Consistent with the aspirations expressed in the contract, Real Marriage did make other best seller lists in early January and then as with the NYT list, the book fell off those lists after the campaign was complete. The book went to #3 on Publisher’s Weekly list, #8 on Wall Street Journal’s Nonfiction Combined list (week ending Jan. 8), and #38 on USA Today’s Top 150 Books (entered the list Jan. 12 for one week).  In contrast to his stance on the NYTs list, Driscoll continues to refer to those lists on his website:

At one point, this list also carried the #1 NYT best seller designation, so someone edited the page and decided to leave these placements alone.* Although the NYT best selling designation is more prestigious, another look at the contract demonstrates that the RSI scheme manipulates the efforts of several respected publications to estimate customer interest in books.
 
*Although these links are probably dead on arrival, there are multiple places on pastormark.tv where the NYT designation is still in place.
UPDATE: All links to pastormark.tv are now dead. I have copies of the pages but the current links go to a page that says, “We couldn’t find that.”
 

Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Update: Dan Allender Gets a Footnote in Real Marriage

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.

 
 
 

Publisher Corrects More Plagiarism in Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage

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.