Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability: Buying Place on Best Seller Lists Violates Standards

On Wednesday, Ruth Graham, writing in The Atlantic, quoted the president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability Dan Busby as saying that schemes such as the one which resulted in Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage showing up on various best seller lists are “unethical and deceptive.” Since the whole thing took place before Mars Hill became a member of ECFA, there will be no consequences of the scandal with that group (even though MHC and Driscoll benefited from the contract after the church became an ECFA member).
I contacted Busby for elaboration on his assessment and he added some detail to his comments regarding the relationship between churches and products created by organization leaders. Busby told me in an email:

It is unethical and deceptive for ECFA-accredited churches (and other organizations) to:
a.   make efforts to mask the method of procuring products authored or developed by an organization’s leader in order to improve product ratings, and/or
b.   procure products authored or developed by an organization’s leader at a higher price than otherwise available for the sake of improving product ratings, even if there is a valid ministry purpose for paying the higher price.

Busby pointed to a ECFA Advisory Opinion on the subject which is as follows:

Product Procurement

Overview.  The leaders of many ECFA members author or develop various intellectual properties, including books.  Royalties received by these leaders for intellectual properties owned by the ECFA member should be considered as one of the elements of compensation when the organization’s governing body determines compensation for the leaders.
Additionally, the organization’s governing body should ensure that the organization is not involved in unethical and deceptive practices relating to the procurement of products authored or developed by its leaders.  The appropriate avenues with which to procure products should be reviewed against the backdrop of ECFA’s Standards 1, 4, and 6.
Standard 1 – Biblical truths and practices.  “Every member shall subscribe to a written statement of faith clearly affirming a commitment to the evangelical Christian faith, or shall otherwise demonstrate such commitment and shall operate in accordance with biblical truths and practices.”
In several of his letters, the Apostle Paul stresses the importance of being beyond reproach and behaving in such a way as to avoid even the appearance of wrong-doing. He tells us that we need to be circumspect to those outside the Church. The reason Paul most often gives is that we must not give Satan any opportunity to destroy the reputation of Christ. Arguably, and in an eternal sense, it may be true that the business of ministries and churches is of concern to God and not to others judging from the outside. However, Scripture is also very clear about our need to be open, honest, and above reproach as we wrestle with the issues of life before Christ’s return. As the Apostle Paul said, “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men” (2 Corinthians 8:21).
Standard 4 – Use of Resources.  “Every member shall exercise the appropriate management and controls necessary to provide reasonable assurance that all of the member’s operations are carried out and resources are used in a responsible manner and in conformity with applicable laws and regulations, such conformity taking into account biblical mandates.”
The use of resources in a responsible manner includes managing resources in a God-honoring way. An organization that has expended assets in an unwise manner may diminish its own Christian witness.
Standard 6 – Compensation-Setting and Related-party transactions. Every organization shall set compensation of its top leader and address related-party transactions in a manner that demonstrates integrity and propriety in conformity with ECFA’s Policy for Excellence in Compensation-Setting and Related-Party Transactions.”
Analysis. In reviewing these Standards and their related commentaries against certain methods in which products may be procured, the ECFA Board, Standards Committee, and Staff found the following:
A potential conflict of interest arises when an organization’s leader decides the organization will promote or purchase books authored by the leader, with the leader receiving royalties on the books.  This risk of a conflict-of-interest is heightened when, in relation to products authored or developed by leaders of ECFA members, (a) products are purchased at a higher price than is required and/or (2) there is an effort to mask the method of procuring products in order to improve product rating.
ECFA members must avoid an actual conflict-of-interest by utilizing the related-party transaction process outlined in ECFA’s Policy for Excellence in Related-Party Transactions when purchasing products authored by an organization’s leader.
If an organization pays a higher price than required for procuring products authored or developed by leaders of an ECFA member, there must be a valid ministry purpose for paying the higher price.  Otherwise, the excess expenditure of funds is for a non-ministry purpose.
Where an organization attempts to mask the method of procurement from organizations that determine product ratings, ECFA believes such practices are not in accord with biblical truths and practices.
ECFA’s Positions.  It is unethical and deceptive for a member organization to:

  1. make efforts to mask the method of procuring products authored or developed by an organization’s leader in order to improve product ratings, and/or
  2. procure products authored or developed by an organization’s leader at a higher price than otherwise available for the sake of improving product ratings, even if there is a valid ministry purpose for paying the higher price.

This opinion clearly applies to the RSI-Mars Hill partnership. The method of moving the books was masked in order to fool those who make up the best seller lists and books were purchased at retail price in order for them to count for purposes of the “improving product ratings.” I appreciate the ECFA guidance on this matter and hope that it informs practice in the evangelical community.
Initially Mars Hill Church called the scheme an “investment” and “opportunity” but then changed direction a bit calling the contract “unwise.” I wonder if the church or maybe even Driscoll himself will ever step up and agree with the ECFA.
 
To see all posts on Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church, click here.

Mars Hill Church Removes Reference to Real Marriage as NYT Best Seller from Mark Driscoll's Bio

As pointed out by Ted Beam on Twitter, Mars Hill has already edited Mark Driscoll’s bio to remove description of Driscoll as a New York Times best selling author.
Here is the bio in 2013 via Internet archive (see also Google cache):

Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church—based in Seattle, Washington—and one of the most popular preachers in the world today. In 2010, Preaching magazine named him one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years. His sermon podcast regularly occupies the top spot in iTunes’s Religion & Spirituality category, and his online audience accesses about 15 million of his sermons each year.
Pastor Mark is the author of over 15 books, including the #1 New York Times best-selling Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together, coauthored with his wife, Grace. He has also written for CNN and The Washington Post, and been featured as a columnist for The Seattle Times.
With a skillful mix of bold presentation, accessible teaching, and compassion for those who are hurting the most—in particular, women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and assault—Pastor Mark has taken biblical Christianity into cultural corners rarely explored by evangelicals. He has been grilled by Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters on The View, gone head-to-head with Piers Morgan on CNN, debated the existence of evil with Deepak Chopra on ABC’s Nightline, bantered with the gang on Fox and Friends, and explained biblical sexuality on Loveline with Dr. Drew.

Here is the bio now:

Pastor Mark Driscoll is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Church—based in Seattle, Washington—and one of the most popular preachers in the world today. In 2010, Preaching magazine named him one of the 25 most influential pastors of the past 25 years. His sermon podcast regularly occupies the top spot in iTunes’s Religion & Spirituality category, and his online audience accesses about 15 million of his sermons each year.
Pastor Mark is the author of over 15 books, and has also written for CNN and The Washington Post, and been featured as a columnist for The Seattle Times.
With a skillful mix of bold presentation, accessible teaching, and compassion for those who are hurting the most—in particular, women who are victims of sexual and physical abuse and assault—Pastor Mark has taken biblical Christianity into cultural corners rarely explored by evangelicals. He has been grilled by Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters on The View, gone head-to-head with Piers Morgan on CNN, debated the existence of evil with Deepak Chopra on ABC’s Nightline, bantered with the gang on Fox and Friends, and explained biblical sexuality on Loveline with Dr. Drew.

This version of his bio (Google cache) with the NYT reference is now missing.
Will publisher Thomas Nelson also do the same?
Now Mars Hill should correct the bio to reflect the fact that Driscoll was not the only founder of MHC. This bio leaves out Lief Moi and Mike Gunn.
UPDATE: Another page has been scrubbed (here is the cache).
 
 

The Signed Contract That Helped Get Mark Driscoll's Real Marriage on the New York Times Best Seller List

Yesterday, World Magazine published an article by Warren Cole Smith which described a contract between Mars Hill Church (MHC) and ResultSource, Inc. (RSI) for the purpose of elevating Mark Driscoll’s book Real Marriage to various best seller lists.  The arrangement was successful, leading to a week atop the New York Time’s best seller list for advice books. Mars Hill Church does not deny this but spun the arrangement as a means to spread the gospel.
I have a copy of the contract signed by Mars Hill executive pastor Sutton Turner and Mat Miller at RSI. In 2013, Jeffrey Tractenberg investigated RSI for the Wall Street Journal and interviewed various people who had worked with RSI. In that article,  author Melissa Wilson described the RSI strategy as “the secret sauce.” With World’s reporting, the sauce isn’t so secret anymore.
Initially, the contract spells out the numbers of copies needed for individual and bulk sales.

Note that RSI uses “over a thousand different payment types” to evade detection. Somehow RSI knows that the NYT bestseller list “requires a minimum of 90 geographically disperse (sic) addresses.”
Apparently, the publisher must be on board with this arrangement as well since the contract requires the publisher to supply the proper number of books. I have asked Harper Collins Christian for comment but they have not replied as yet.

The names and addresses are apparently very important in making sure that these purchases escape detection by those who compile the best seller lists.

This method seems consistent with my speculation from yesterday. MHC got donation and addresses from people who wanted a “free” copy of the book. I suspect that some of the people at those addresses then got books from Amazon or some other book seller.  Via the pre-release solicitation or by some other manner, those names and addresses were given to RSI to use with their payment methods to purchase books via online or other sellers.
I spoke to a former Mars Hill pastor last night who told me that some MHC locations had hundreds of books just gathering dust. Some of those bulk orders might still be sitting in MHC storage room.
At least one former ally of Driscoll has denounced the practice of buying one’s way on to a best seller list. Justin Taylor at Crossway Books and the Gospel Coalition tweeted a link to an article by Jared Wilson on the Gospel Coalition website titled:

 
 
With some private information excluded here is the entire contract.
For all posts on this topic, go here.

Spokesperson: Thomas Nelson Working With Driscolls to Address Real Marriage Citation Issues

I asked Harper Collins Christian Publishing Director of Corporate Communications, Casey Francis Harrell for comment regarding when the print edition of Real Marriage would reflect the changes now seen online. In response, Ms. Harrell said in an email:

We are aware of the issues that have been raised about Mark and Grace Driscoll’s REAL MARRIAGE, and we are working with the authors to address them as efficiently and effectively as possible in all formats.

Thomas Nelson has addressed two of the several issues which have been raised here and elsewhere.

Publisher Thomas Nelson Alters Mark Driscoll's Book Real Marriage To Correct Citation Problems

On January 9, I compared a section of Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage to Justin & Lindsey Holcomb’s book Rid of My Disgrace. In that post, I noted that the Driscolls did not give adequate credit to the Holcombs for some material adapted from the Holcombs’ book on recovery from sexual assault. While some supporters of Mark Driscoll have minimized concerns about plagiarism and  inadequate citation, the publishers involved apparently consider the problems to be important. First, Thomas Nelson added an acknowledgment to Dan Allender* in Real Marriage and now the publisher has made more changes in the book to more appropriately cite the Holcombs’ work.
The image below shows the original version compared to the Google version (p. 125) now online:

With these corrections, Thomas Nelson addressed the precise issues that I pointed out in the January 9 post. The current version is much better and gives appropriate credit to the Holcombs.
Thomas Nelson should get some credit for this reaction to concerns over plagiarism. In contrast to Tyndale House, Thomas Nelson apparently viewed the citation of the Holcomb’s work as less than market standards. Recall that Thomas Nelson pulled David Barton’s book, The Jefferson Lies when it became clear that the book was filled with factual errors. Now, they have taken a less drastic course but nonetheless tacitly acknowledged problems which require action.
I would say that the several publishers involved have a lot more work to do to make appropriate corrections. Now that Thomas Nelson has moved to make these changes, Tyndale House may feel additional pressure to rethink the findings of their investigation regarding citation of Peter Jones’ work in A Call To Resurgence.
*This now shows up in the Google version as well.
UPDATE: Thomas Nelson issued a statement to me today regarding the changes being made to Real Marriage. Click the link to read the statement.

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

In this post, I am going to summarize the remainder of instances of citation problems and recycling in Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage. In addition, I will add links to the previous issues discovered.
First some issues I have not written about previously.
On pages 53-54, the Driscolls write about “contract v. covenant marriage.” To me, this use seems similar to their use of Dan Allender’s relational styles of abused women (“tough girl, good girl, party girl”). First, from Real Marriage, p. 53:

Understanding contract versus covenant is essential to marriage. In a contractual marriage two people with two lives negotiate the terms of their marriage. This tends to make marriage more like a business deal where two individuals living parallel lives monitor each other’s contributions to see if the terms of the marriage negotiation are being upheld. For many men and women, the questions are: Is my spouse keeping up his/ her looks, making his/ her share of the income, doing an equal amount of the chores, and having enough sex with me, or not? And if at any point I do not believe my spouse is keeping up his or her end of our business arrangement, I simply nullify the deal and file for divorce according to the terms of a prenuptial agreement in which the divorce was organized before the marriage began.
A covenant is not like a contract. This is important for men to understand because most men, especially professionals, think contractually, which is fine for business but death to a marriage. The concept of covenant appears literally hundreds of times throughout the Bible. At the most basic level, a covenant is a loving agreement between two parties that bonds them together . a Some covenants are made between God and people, such as the new covenant of salvation. b Other covenants are made between people, such as the covenant of marriage.
Driscoll, Mark; Driscoll, Grace (2012-01-03). Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together (p. 53-54). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

I don’t know who coined the distinction first but their discussion reminded me of the concept of contract v. covenant marriage in Gary Chapman’s 2003 book Covenant Marriage. Click this link to see the relevant portion of Covenant Marriage.
In a previous post, I pointed out instances of recycling material from one book to another without disclosure. In Real Marriage, the Driscolls recycled additional material from Death By Love (authored with Gerry Breshears).  From Real Marriage, pages 94-95:

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

Click this link to compare the section in Real Marriage to a discussion of bitterness in Death By Love.
A third section is the Driscoll’s treatment of John Wesley’s marriage on pages 97-99 in Real Marriage. The Driscolls provide an account of John Wesley’s marriage to Molly Vazeille. The marriage was a disaster by any standard and the Driscolls contrast it with the happy marriage of John’s brother Charles. The narrative is told with footnotes for direct quotes from John Wesley but no citation of the source(s) for the many facts provided about the rest of the story. The material is not common knowledge and had to come from research on Wesley’s life. In one instance, the Driscolls cite a very good book by Doreen Moore titled “Good Christians, Good Husbands” but do so in relation to a direct quote from Wesley. The details of Wesley’s failed marriage are presented without citation.
From an academic point of view, the lack of citation makes it impossible to track down their claims. For instance, I would like to know their source because one aspect of the narrative seems incorrect. From page 98:

John Wesley had poured his life into his ministry of Methodism . But in February 1751 things changed when, at the age of forty-eight, the never-married John Wesley was crossing London Bridge when he slipped on ice and broke his ankle. He was then taken into the home of forty-one-year-old Molly Vazeille, a wealthy widow with four children. Without even a passing mention in his journal, the two were married eight days later.
Driscoll, Mark; Driscoll, Grace (2012-01-03). Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together (p. 98). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

According to Doreen Moore’s research (p. 21) and a letter by John Wesley’s brother Charles, Wesley had already disclosed he was going to marry Molly Vazeille before he injured his ankle on the bridge. The Driscolls make it seem as though Wesley didn’t know Molly prior to the injury. However, he was taken there apparently because he had already announced his intention to marry her. Small matter perhaps, but worth noting for those who are interested in the life of Wesley.
Other posts on Real Marriage:
Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage and Robert Brannon’s Male Sex Roles: Coincidence or Something More?
More Citation Problems in Mark Driscoll’s Book Real Marriage; Leland Ryken’s Worldly Saints and More
Anti-Plagiarism Campaigner Says Mark Driscoll Did Not Adequately Cite The Work Of Peter Jones
Writing Recycling: A New Wrinkle in the Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Controversy?
Mark and Grace Driscoll’s Real Marriage Compared to Justin and Lindsey Holcomb’s Rid of My Disgrace
Kindle Edition of Mark Driscoll’s Real Marriage Adds Dan Allender to Acknowledgments

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

Chapter 3 of Mark and Grace Driscoll’s book Real Marriage is addressed directly to his male readers. In the chapter on Men and Marriage, Driscoll says that men are to be tough and tender but proposes that some men are too tough (tough chauvinists) and some are too tender (tender cowards). They are not terms of endearment.
As I read through this section, some of the terms seemed familiar. Indeed, Driscoll’s designations and descriptions for three of the tough chauvinists and one of the tender cowards appear to be restatements of Robert Brannon’s 1976 descriptions of male sex roles. Another of Driscoll’s tender cowards appears to be reminiscent of Dan Kiley’s Peter Pan Syndrome.
Let me state upfront that I am not accusing Driscoll of plagiarizing Brannon’s or Kiley’s work. I cannot prove Rev. Driscoll had access to Brannon’s or Kiley’s material. It may be a coincidence that these exact labels are used in this typology.  Perhaps he studied Brannon in college and later came up with the labels without recollecting where he had heard them. Regarding Kiley’s popularization of the concept of the “Peter Pan Syndrome,” I don’t see the lack of citation as a serious problem. The concept of a man who will not grow up is not particularly novel and has been referred to in a variety of ways. However, with regard to Brannon, if Driscoll was aware of Brannon’s material, then he should have credited the author as a part of the expanding the typology. This situation is comparable to Driscoll’s use of Dan Allender’s typology of female responses to abuse (“tough girl, party girl, good girl”). Apparently, Thomas Nelson, the publisher of Real Marriage, believed the Driscoll’s use of Allender’s work required acknowledgment because the publisher recently added a note to Allender in the Kindle version of Real Marriage. If Driscoll did indeed rely on Brannon for these designations and the accompanying descriptions then a similar notation in Real Marriage should be added.
First let’s look at Brannon’s typology and descriptions of gender roles. In his 1976 book chapter, “The Male Sex Role: Our Culture’s Blueprint of Manhood and What It’s Done for Us Lately” from the book The Forty-nine percent majority: the male sex role, edited by Brannon and Deborah S. David, Brannon describes four dimensions of the male role:

1. Anti-Femininity (“No Sissy Stuff”): The stigma of all stereotyped feminine characteristics and qualities, including openness and vulnerability.
2. Status and Achievement (“The Big Wheel”): Success, status and the need to be looked up to.
3. Stoicism and Independence (“The Sturdy Oak”): A manly air of toughness, confidence, and self-reliance.
4. Adventurousness and Aggressiveness (“Give ‘Em Hell!”): The aura of aggression, violence and daring

The article is too long to reproduce here. However, some description from the article is necessary to demonstrate the similarity to Driscoll’s content.

 1. Anti-Femininity (“No Sissy Stuff”): the Stigma of Anything Vaguely Feminine
The earliest lesson: Don’t be like girls, kid, be like. . . like. . . well, not like girls.
A “real man” must never, never resemble women, or display strongly stereotyped feminine characteristics. (emphasis in original)
This stigma of femininity (i.e. “effeminacy”) applies to almost everything: vocabulary, food, hobbies, sexual orientation and even choice of profession. What follows from this is that men who are most intensely concerned with their own masculinity seldom desire close and prolonged contact with women
If everything associated with females is so potentially stigmatizing, it’s not hard to guess how much real intimacy with women themselves a manly man is supposed to want.
Men who are most intensely concerned with their own masculinity seldom desire close contact with women.
Open displays of anger, contempt, impatience, hostility, or cynicism are not difficult for most men.  But emotions suggesting vulnerability, and even extremely positive feelings such as love, tenderness, and trust are almost never acceptable.
Also, men in general are far more reluctant than women to reveal personal information about themselves. Jourard (1971) found that men reveal less than women, no matter who the audience, and that both sexes reveal less to men than to women.

Compare Brannon’s work to Driscoll’s character, “No Sissy Stuff Sam” on page 45 of Real Marriage:

Brannon calls the next aspect of the male role, “The Big Wheel”:

II. Status and Achievement (“The Big Wheel”): Success, Status, and the Need to be Looked Up To
One of the basic routes to manhood in our society is to be a success: to command respect and be looked up to for what one can do or has achieved.
The most visible and sought-after source of status in our society is what we loosely refer to as “being a success”. The business tycoon, the politician, the movie star and the sports hero enjoy an automatic kind of status, and will often be viewed as masculine role- models on this basis alone.
Men who haven’t “made it” by the standards of the mainstream often find other battlegrounds to fight on, other routes to status before smaller but highly appreciative audiences. A neighborhood bar may have a champion dart thrower, with a standing bet to lick any man in the house…In truth, almost anything pursued seriously can become a source of status, and status itself is the ultimate prize.
The act of lovemaking was once considered a natural function and the male prerogative at that. With the widespread discussion of female orgasm, not to mention multiple orgasm, and the appearance of hundreds of sex manuals telling men how to bring any woman to the brink of ecstasy in 35 easy steps, a whole new proving ground for male competence (and status) has appeared.

Now consider Driscoll’s “Success and Status Stewart.”

Going in Brannon’s order of presentation, the next male role is “The Sturdy Oak.”

III. Stoicism and Independence (“The Sturdy Oak”): A Manly Air of Toughness,
There is another paradigm of masculinity which has nothing directly to do with social status. There is a distinct sense of strong manliness, not usually belligerent or looking for trouble, but  tough and self-possessed, which somehow emerges from the variable combination of quiet confidence, self-reliance, determination, indifference to opposition, courage, and seriousness.
A “real man” never worries about death or loses his manly “cool.”
A father may decide on a firm punishment for his son and stick to it, when understanding and support are what’s needed.

For Driscoll, “The Sturdy Oak” is a tender coward (p. 46). Driscoll emphasizes the aloof nature of the sturdy oak to create a character who doesn’t engage with his family.

Brannon’s final male role characteristic is a description of aggression that is expected from males.

IV. Adventurousness and Aggressiveness (“Give ‘Em Hell”): The Aura of Aggression,
Violence, and Daring
There is another deep and rich vein in the male gender role that also smacks of strength and toughness but is not fundamentally wholesome, constructive, or benign. It is the need to hurt, to conquer, to embarrass, to humble, to outwit, to punish, or to defeat or most basically in Horney’s useful phrase, “to move against people.”
Although both this paradigm and the former (i.e. the Sturdy Oak) draw on toughness as a defining feature, in this case the underlying theme is one of attack and not defence.

Driscoll’s version of “Give ‘Em Hell” gets the name Hank and sounds a lot like Brannon.

Driscoll preached this typology in a 2009 sermon titled Marriage and Men. In the sermon and in Real Marriage, Driscoll adds a character called “I’m The Boss Bob” to his list of tough chauvinists and “Little Boy Larry” (where he invokes the Peter Pan), “Hyper-Spiritual Henry” and “Good Time Gary” to his list of tender cowards. Other than the added characters, Driscoll’s typology is different in that Brannon taught that the labels described role pressures that most men experience. Driscoll makes these designations to be different types of men. As an academic matter, I think Brannon’s typology is more useful because, as with any typology, one can see combinations of types that better describe individual people. Furthermore, given varying life circumstances, some men may experience one type of pressure at one time of life and another more keenly at another time of life.
I asked Neil Holdway, treasure of the American Copy Editors Society how he viewed Driscoll’s typology as compared to Brannon’s. After reviewing the two sources, he said there are some suspicious elements but one cannot be sure what inspired Driscoll since Driscoll has not spoken on the matter and Brannon is not the only person to write about gender roles. However, he added, “If Driscoll drew on the work of Brannon and any others, he should have cited it in some way — with attribution within the text or with footnotes, as Brannon did so well with his work.”
It is certainly fine to build on someone else’s work but it is important to give credit for the inspiration and material used. As noted above, this case may be similar to the citation problems with Dan Allender’s work. Thomas Nelson has addressed that, making it clear that the Driscolls did borrow from Allender. If Driscoll was aware of Brannon’s work, then a similar response may be forthcoming.
 

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

In addition to issues already raised about Mark & Grace Driscoll’s book, Real Marriage, I have found other instances where material was not cited, cited with errors, or recycled from other books. Today, I want to examine pages 115-117 from Real Marriage.  First I provide the sentence from the Driscolls’ book and then the apparent source. The sentences in Real Marriage are provided in the order they are written in the book. I have provided screen caps of 2012 Real Marriage and Leland Ryken’s 1986 book Worldly Saints at the end of this post. Much of this material appears to come from Ryken’s book published by Zondervan without citation. Driscoll is aware of Ryken’s book. He recommended Worldly Saints in a 2002 sermon and on the Resurgence website just last year. Other books are also used without citation which I point out below.

From page 115 of Real Marriage:

Tertullian (AD 155– 220) and Ambrose (AD 340–397) were said to prefer extinction of the human race to continued sexual intercourse.

On page 40 of Worldly Saints:

Tertullian and Ambrose preferred the extinction of the human race to its propagation through sin, that is, through sexual intercourse.

From Real Marriage (p. 115):

Origen (AD 185– 254) was so convinced of the evils of sexual pleasure that he not only allegorized the Song of Songs but also took a knife and castrated himself.

From Worldly Saints (p. 40):

Origen took Matthew 19:12 so literally that he had himself castrated before being ordained.

Real Marriage (p. 115):

Gregory of Nyssa (AD 335– 394) taught that Adam and Eve were created without sexual desire, and if the fall had not occurred, the race would have reproduced itself by some harmless mode of vegetation.

Worldly Saints (p. 41):

Bishop Gregory of Nyssa claimed that Adam and Eve had originally been created without sexual desire, and if the Fall had not occurred, the human race would have reproduced itself by some harmless mode of vegetation.

Real Marriage (p. 115):

Chrysostom (AD 347– 407) said that Adam and Eve could not have had sexual relations before the fall.

Worldly Saints (p. 41):

Chrysostom said that Adam and Eve could not have had sexual relations before the Fall.

Real Marriage (p. 115):

Jerome (AD 347– 420) threw himself into thorny brambles to overwhelm himself with pain when he began to desire a woman sexually. He also beat his chest with a stone to punish himself for feeling sexually tempted.

From S. Drury, Terror and Civilization: Christianity, Politics, and the Western Psyche, (see image) (p. 96):

St. Jerome beat his chest with a stone to drive away the evil desire he had for a dancing girl he saw in Rome…Saint Benedict stripped himself naked and rolled around in thorny bushes to chastise his body for its lusts.

While I can’t be dogmatic about it, I can’t find a story about Jerome in the thorn bushes. However, there are multiple sources which describe Benedict’s naked roll in the thorns. For instance, an account from Legends of the Monastic Order as Represented in the Fine Arts by Anna Jameson has Benedict sending temptation away via his painful ordeal:

Real Marriage (p. 115):

And he (Jerome) believed that a husband was guilty of adultery if he engaged in unrestrained sexual passion with his wife. 17

There is a footnote here which points to William Cole’s 1966 book Sex in Christianity and Psychoanalysis and published by Oxford University Press. Cole refers to a catechism which cites Jerome as follows:

A wise man ought to love his wife with judgment, not with passion. He will govern the impetuosity voluptuous impulses, and will not be hurried into indulgence. There is no greater turpitude than that a husband love his wife as an adultress.

While Driscoll’s interpretation of Jerome is fair, a fuller reading indicates Jerome’s grudging approval of marital sex, within reason:

It is disgraceful to love another man’s wife at all, or one’s own too much. A wise man ought to love his wife with judgment, not with passion. Let a man govern his voluptuous impulses, and not rush headlong into intercourse.
There is nothing blacker than to love a wife as if she were an adulteress. Men who say they have contracted marriage and are bringing up children, for the good of their country and of the race, should at least imitate the brutes, and not destroy their offspring in the womb; nor should they appear in the character of lovers, but of husbands.

Real Marriage (p. 115):

Augustine (AD 354– 430) was sexually active before his conversion and later decided that sex within marriage was not sinful, though the lust and passion associated with it was sinful. Because of this, he often commended married couples for not engaging in sex and referred to it as a form of animalistic lust. 18

This sentence is footnoted appropriately.
Real Marriage (p. 115):

Saint Francis made women out of snow and then caressed them in order to quiet the lust that burned in him.

From Drury’s Terror and Civilization (p. 96):

Saint Francis tried to cool the lust that burned within him by caressing figures made of snow.

As noted by this blogger (who contacted Driscoll to find his source with no reply), this telling of the Saint Francis legend appears to be incorrect. There is a legend involving St. Francis and snow figures but the story is different in very important ways. An important source of St. Francis legends is the work of Bonaventure who quoted from Celano. The legends of St. Francis as recorded by Celano are here. The story involving snow figures is as follows:

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.

While I am not an expert on St. Francis, my research into this story leads me to believe that both Drury and Driscoll are wrong about the story (and it is a story with no way to know if it is true). In this case, Driscoll’s copying seems to have led him into presenting a false picture of the St. Francis legend.
Real Marriage (p. 115):

Thomas Aquinas (AD 1225– 1274) taught that sex was only permissible for purposes of procreation. Aquinas saw sexual intercourse as duty alone. Anything beyond this was immoral. He wrote, “For if the motive for the marriage act be a virtue, whether of justice that they may render the debt, or of religion, that they may beget children for the worship of God, it is meritorious. But if the motive be lust . . . it is a venial sin.” 19

The footnote here goes to an online version of Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. However, the section in Real Marriage looks very much like this section from this book:

Real Marriage (p. 115)

Early in the sixth century, Pope Gregory the Great wrote that although marriage was not sinful, “conjugal union cannot take place without carnal pleasure, and such pleasure cannot under any circumstance be without blame.” 21

This sentence is appropriately footnoted.
Real Marriage (p. 116):

The Church eventually began to limit the days on which sex was permissible and continued adding days until half the year or more was prohibited, with some priests going so far as to recommend abstinence from five to seven days a week.

Worldly Saints (p. 41):

The Church kept multiplying the days on which sex was prohibited for married people until half the year or more was prohibited, with some writers going so far as to recommend abstinence on five of the seven days of the week.

Real Marriage (p. 116):

The Catholic Church’s view through the Middle Ages was that sexual love, both in and out of marriage, was evil.

Worldly Saints (p. 40):

The dominant attitude of the Catholic Church throughout the Middle Ages was that sexual love itself was evil and did not cease to be so if its object were one’s spouse.

Real Marriage (p. 116):

By the fifth century priests were forbidden to marry, which has, at least in part, resulted in a global scandal as sexually unhealthy and unholy men entered pastoral ministry.

Worldly Saints (p. 40):

By the fifth century clerics were prohibited from marrying,

I am going to stop there because I think this is enough to indicate the nature of the problems. While this is a relatively short section of Real Marriage, it seems clear that at least Leland Ryken and Shadia Drury should have been cited. Some of the material matches up exactly with the sources I have supplied while other information is included without any sourcing. In at least two cases, copying appears to have compromised the facts.
Worldly SaintsImage pages 40-41; reference to sources on church history (Although Ryken did not footnote each sentence in his book, he supplied his sources for the discussion in a footnote)
Real MarriageImage pages 115-116
 
 
 

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

In 2012, journalist Jonah Lehrer came under fire for self-plagiarism.* Lehrer eventually lost his job due to recycling and inventing material, notably attributing false quotes to Bob Dylan. While writing for the New Yorker, Lehrer posted a column which began in nearly the same manner as a column published by the Wall Street Journal during the previous year. Jim Romenesko first reported Lehrer’s recycled material. To see how similar they are (nearly identical), you can go to Romenesko’s blog and/or compare the Wall Street Journal article with the New Yorker version. A lengthy description of recycling is provided by the Reluctant Habits blog.
Once the New Yorker learned of the reuse of material, the editor posted the following statement:

Editors’ Note: The introductory paragraphs of this post appeared in similar form in an October, 2011, column by Jonah Lehrer for the Wall Street Journal. We regret the duplication of material.

Eventually, it was learned that Lehrer had double dipped on other occasions. Although some complained about the term, “self-plagiarism,” his conduct was of intense interest to his peers. Lehrer eventually said about his actions, “It was a stupid thing to do and incredibly lazy and absolutely wrong.”
In summary, the publishers involved took the recycling seriously, they made readers aware of the duplication, and Lehrer said what he did was stupid, lazy and wrong.
It is unclear to me how the Christian publishing world regards recycling material when multiple publishers are involved. In this post, I am simply going to point out an occasion of recycling in Mark Driscoll’s books. I have been reading several of them, and I can tell you there are more instances. For now, I will stick with the case of Driscoll recycling material from Religion Saves: And Nine Other Misconceptions published by Crossway Books in 2009 into Real Marriage published by Thomas Nelson in 2012.
First, both books contain a description of pornography. They are nearly identical.**

In both books following the description of porn, Driscoll provides a summary of the aspects of pornography.  In Real Marriage, it comes on page 143.

As an aside, no experts are cited and I haven’t figured out where he got that list.
Now, here is the same material from Religion Saves published earlier by Crossway Books.

The passages are identical. Perhaps there is some undisclosed arrangement between the publishers, but I can’t find any permission or acknowledgment in Real Marriage that this material comes from a book published by Crossway.
In Real Marriage on page 113, Driscoll writes:

The life of a prostitute is incredibly dark: 62 percent report having been raped in prostitution. In one study, 75 percent of women in escort prostitution had attempted suicide; prostituted women comprised 15 percent of all completed suicides reported by hospitals.

On page 140 in Religion Saves, the same opening sentence is written (“The life of a prostitute is incredibly dark”) with the same statistics, albeit with a few additional stats.
On page 112 of Real Marriage, Driscoll writes:

The sexual revolution of the 1960s and ’70s radically altered the sexual landscape of our nation, so that today sex before marriage and viewing pornography are the culturally accepted norm.

The identical sentence can be found on page 130 of Religion Saves.
Much of chapter 5 in Religion Saves is recycled in Real Marriage. In both, Driscoll cites Jim Dobson on the story of Ted Bundy, and Patrick Carnes on sexual addiction. He recycles the material on sexual addiction with the same sexual addition criteria list from Carnes. He has identical statements about pornography and lust. Much of the same ground is covered in both books with no mention in Real Marriage of the exact same material being first published by Crossway in 2009.
Jonah Lehrer found that recycling material (and other misdeeds) caused quite a stir among journalists and led to publishers pursuing vigorous public actions to protect their interests and reputations.  To me, the situations seem quite similar. It remains to be seen how Christian publishers will view extensive recycling of material from one publisher’s book to another by the same author.
 
*I first learned of the Lehrer story from Jake Dockter at The Great White Whale. In his piece Dockter asked many pointed questions based on what was known at the time. Many of those questions remain unanswered.
**I added this image as an update to the original article.

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

Near the end of December, Becky Garrison wrote a piece in Religion Dispatches about the Mark Driscoll plagiarism controversy. In her piece, she referred to a book by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb titled Rid of My Disgrace:

And again, portions of Rid of My Disgrace (2011, Re:Lit), penned by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb, can be found in this book. (Chapter 7 of Real Marriage, contains unattributed passages from pages 16-17 and 27 of Rid of My Disgrace). In an ironic twist, the Resurgence store still sells this book even though Driscoll tried to blame Holcomb for the plagiarism found in the Trial book.

Yesterday, I noted that the Kindle version of Real Marriage has been slightly (but insufficiently) modified to mention the Driscoll’s use of Dan Allender’s work in The Wounded Heart. I wonder if the next Kindle correction will be a more adequate reflection of the debt the Driscolls owe to the Holcombs.
This case is an interesting one in that Real Marriage mentions the Holcombs many times. The Holcombs are mentioned in the Acknowledgments and their book is cited in the end notes. However, this situation demonstrates how an author can cite a source and still not give adequate credit. As I will show, Real Marriage needs to be corrected to properly and completely cite Rid of My Disgrace.
Probably the best way to do this is to provide a passage from Real Marriage followed by the source material from Rid of My Disgrace.
From page 125 in Real Marriage:
Page 27 in Rid of My Disgrace:

Here the Driscolls quote the Holcombs after they reword the section from the Holcomb’s book on definition of sexual assault. Note that the Holcombs footnote this section since they are reporting information and facts they gleaned elsewhere. The Driscolls simply rework material from the Holcomb’s book without attribution.
On page 126 of Real Marriage, the Driscolls cite Martin Luther:
The footnote #6 in the text does not go to the Holcomb’s book but instead to the original Martin Luther source, implying that the Driscolls located the quote.
The source of the Luther quote appears to be from page 17 of Rid of My Disgrace:

This is the same quote and it is hard to escape the suspicion that the Driscolls did not find the Luther quote independently but rather lifted it from Rid of My Disgrace. One can see from the footnotes that the source is the same. Note that the Holcombs appropriately cite the source where they found the quote.

Let me hasten to add that it is clear that the Driscolls appreciate the Holcomb’s work. The Holcombs are thanked in the Acknowledgments and they are quoted with appropriate citations in the same chapter where they are not cited adequately.  Given that the Holcomb’s book is sold by Mars Hill, they probably want people to buy it. Nonetheless, even though this may not have been intentional plagiarism, it is a matter that should be corrected by the publisher.
Given the scope of the issues I’ve reported here and in other posts, I think it is time for a more robust statement from Driscoll, Mars Hill and, in this case, Thomas Nelson. There appears to be a pattern. It may not be intentional. Not having Driscoll’s purported “gift of discernment,” I have no way to divine his motives. However, passing off other’s people work as your own is a serious matter and should be more seriously addressed.
For all posts on Driscoll and Mars Hill, click here.