Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Janet Mefferd presents documentation of Mark Driscoll's work to work by Peter Jones and Don Carson

The allegation that Driscoll plagiarized Peter Jones has had nearly a week to be considered in public discussion.  The newer presentation is that Mark Driscoll plagiarized D.A. Carson in the book for Trial: 8 Witnesses from 1 & 2 Peter

"Today, we also revealed that Pastor Driscoll has lifted material from another source — word for word — in another of his books, “Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1&2 Peter.” This was a book published in 2009 by Mars Hill Church. On pages 7 and 8, Driscoll lifts and publishes, under his own name, an entire section from “1 Peter,” New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, Ed. D. A. Carson, 4th ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), p. 1370"


By way of introduction, Mefferd's documentation of Driscoll's use of Don Carson ...  it's simply amazing.  Mefferd points out that Driscoll's booklet reproduces the content of the Carson article, and provides footnotes to the sources that Carson credits in Carson's work, but not to Carson's work itself.  The footnotes are to Tertullian and Eusebius.  Whether or not Mark Driscoll even really wrote the book himself or it was assembled by a team of interns and ghost-writers would have to be established by someone else, but Wenatchee has seen a number of Mars Hill staff list ghost-writing in their resumes and so it's not entirely impossible to suggest that some of the cases of Mark Driscoll's alleged plagiarism could have come about via ghost-writers.  Still, considering that Mark Driscoll owns or co-owns the copyrights in the books with his name on them ... the scope of Mefferd's allegations remain unchanged.

Now Mark Driscoll isn't the only Driscoll who has published material relying on uncredited authors.  Grace Driscoll's chapter 7 of Real Marriage drew on terms and concepts that can be demonstrated to have originated with Dan Allender as far back as 1990; she listed him in her public deacon profile as a favorite author; but does not credit his work in her chapter in the book Real Marriage..

With all that out of the way, Mefferd also quotes from Driscoll himself, who wrote on November 23 a piece called "We Even Lie About Our Lying".  This piece published in the wake of the November 21, 2013 interview with Mefferd will be worth consulting a bit here and there because the sum-up Driscoll arrives at is paradoxical and problematic.  Team Driscoll may want to think through the full implications of Mark Driscoll publicly stating he's guilty of lying, cuz it sure reads like he's admitting he's deceived people.  But we'll get to the generalities here.


Deception is where we twist the truth into a weapon for harm and destruction. Cheating in school. Half-truths on a resume. Falsifying reports at work. Double-billing clients. And, pastors are notorious for "borrowing" material. All of us are guilty of deception to some degree. Its prevalence, however, does not change the fact that deception is a demonic, satanic issue.

It's interesting that Driscoll presupposes that we are all guilty of deception and that deception is demonic.  Has Driscoll truly thought through all the implications of what he's just said about himself there? 

Anyway, Mefferd largely restricted herself to that excerpt but here are some others:

Suck-ups, kiss-ups, and butter-ups violate the ninth commandment by not saying what’s true, and instead saying what other people want to hear in order to achieve a certain outcome.

Flattery can feel pretty good and yield some favorable results in the moment, but Psalm 12:2 warns, “Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak.” You can have a double mind. You can have a double tongue. Flattery is a double heart. It is insincere and excessive praise intended to manipulate.

What else can we observe from Psalm 12? There's stuff about asking that God would cut off boasting lips and those who say "With our tongues we will prevail" and things like "Who is master over us?"  And then there's thing about how the poor are plundered.  The Psalm is not especially detailed about that but perhaps interpreting Psalm 12 can be saved for someone else at some other time.

How about this?, "Deception is demonic. It is pretending that you’re communicating the truth, when in fact you know that it’s a lie"  Regular readers of Wenatchee The Hatchet probably will already remember that former executive elder Scott Thomas informed a Mars HIll member "A team of elders just concluded a conciliatory process with these two men" referring to Bent Meyer and Paul Petry.  What Scott Thomas had written a day earlier was that Paul Petry would not need to be present at his own trial and that the Elder Investigative Taskforce consisting of Scott Thomas, Dave Kraft, Steve Tompkins and Gary Shavey had finished collecting evidence.   What would happen on October 15 was that the elders of Mars Hill would unanimously vote to remove Paul Petry from being a pastor at Mars Hill based on the case Scott Thomas and the EIT presented. Scott Thomas oversaw what basically amounted to a kangaroo court, given the evidence that is publicly accessible through Joyful Exiles.  If there were evidence that Thomas, Kraft, Tompkins or Shavey would or could publicly produce to justify the October 15, 2007 vote none of them has done so in the wake of Joyful Exiles being published.  Driscoll couldn't have been thinking of the role he or Jamie Munson or Scott Thomas played in the trials of Meyer and Petry, could he?  Or is Mars Hill ever going to publicly respond to the existence of Joyful Exiles? 

Scott Thomas, as president of Acts 29, was in a position to have heard Mark Driscoll's October 1, 2007 address that included "There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus ... ."  If he had not heard the audio he was still in a position close enough to Driscoll to know whether or not the outcome of the trial was in question or simply a foregone conclusion.  If all this seems like needless review for new readers it's worth repeating all of this, because if you look at the evidence at hand about how Scott Thomas conducted the investigation and trial of Paul Petry and cross-reference this with Mark Driscoll's October 1, 2007 statement at an Acts 29 event what cumulative seems to have taken place was a kangaroo court whose goal was simply to ensure that all the remaining elders at Mars Hill voted Petry out of eldership.  Of course Thomas, Kraft,Tompkins and Shavey are welcome to publicly present the evidence for the hearing any time if they wish.  So far no one at Mars Hill has been willing to publicly acknowledge that Joyful Exiles exists. 

So, as it stands, it sure looks like Scott Thomas, an executive pastor of Mars HIll in 2007, lied about the nature of the "conciliatory process" that had been completed. He also lied about this using his Acts 29 Network email.  If a pastor lies using the resources of a church-planting network that is supposed to be distinct from the church it is affiliated with the network is implicated in the deception. 

Another nugget from Driscoll's recent writing about deception,

Case-builders collect information like stones to throw at somebody—just waiting for the right opportunity to impugn and attack someone’s character and integrity. If you’re a case-builder, you’ve decided that someone is your enemy and then justify sinful slander as righteous aggression.

So is Driscoll willing to publicly address the trial of Paul Petry and how Scott Thomas seems to have handled that trial?  Because a reader "could" reach the conclusion that the material presented at Joyful Exiles suggests that Scott Thomas fit into Driscoll's definition of "case-builder".  Perhaps Driscoll has other sorts of people in mind besides a now former executive pastor of Mars Hill. 

How about this other nugget from Driscoll?

Even if what you you’ve communicated is factual truth, your motives are untrue if the purpose in communicating is to harm your neighbor rather than bring glory to God and good for your neighbor.

So basically this means that even if you're telling the truth but it makes someone look bad then that's still  slander or libel if, in your heart, your purpose is to harm your neighbor rather than bring glory to God and good for your neighbor.  And who gets to decide that now?  Driscoll? 

Well, didn't Mark Driscoll once declare that he worked as a professional journalist? Yep


The trouble started with a Southern Baptist blogger . . . yes, you should have seen that one coming. Now, to be fair, the blogger quoted an anonymous “source.” And, we all know that almost everything bloggers say is true. But, when they have something as solid as an anonymous “source,” then you can rest assured that when Jesus talked about the truth over and over in John, this is precisely what he was referring to. I have a degree from Washington State’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and worked professionally as a journalist, and I can assure you that The Kerfuffle is a very serious matter to be taken with the utmost sobriety and propriety. In fact, one anonymous “source” I spoke to said that Watergate pales in comparison.

So by now Driscoll can't even sustain the claim that libel or slander is what happens when you publish something that is factually true if the purpose of communicating is to harm your neighbor.  Now there's a sliver of truth in saying that establishing malice is important in assessing a libel or slander case but the far more critical detail is whether the claims are provably true or false.  There's also details about how public a figure or how much of a celebrity the subject of the alleged libel or slander is.

Janet Mefferd alleges that Mark Driscoll plagiarized not only Peter Jones but also D. A. Carson.  She has presented what she considers evidence that Mark Driscoll appropriated material from both men, men he has repeatedly described as friends, for readers to consider.  How Driscoll winds up to a his conclusion includes these words:

There are a lot of reasons why we lie, and we're all in the guilty bucket together. ...
If you’ve read this far, I’m certain the Holy Spirit has convicted you of lying somewhere, sometime in your life. I’m guilty. We’re all guilty. But if we know it’s wrong, then why do we do it?

So Driscoll says "I'm guilty."  Guilty of what?  Lying?  Really?  What has Mark Driscoll lied about, then, since he's gone so far as to say he's guilty of deception.  Or has he?  Has this been a confession by Mark Driscoll that he has lied about specific things or a more general, rhetorical flourish designed to get you, the reader, to ruminate on all the ways that you are a liar. It's probably not designed to address whether or not Jamie Munson's allegations against Paul Petry and Bent Meyer were provably true or false any more than it was designed to address what looks to have been Scott Thomas lying to a member about the nature of a "conciliatory process" that looks like a kangaroo court.  But Driscoll sure looks like he's admitted to being guilty of lying if one goes merely by the simplest, most literal reading of his words.

No, this is not an invitation for people to volunteer things.  :) Comments are disabled because Wenatchee has seen how over-the-top people get when they decide to denounce public figures on-line.