Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Docent Group and sermon preparation, some recommendations via Mark Driscoll

http://www.docentgroup.com/
At the front of the page there's a little video you can watch in which Mark Driscoll commends the Docent Group.  For those into reading text there's a direct and indirect Driscollian commendation for your perusal.

http://www.docentgroup.com/pastor_stories

Docent has been invaluable to me. I think I have had them do nearly everything but cut my grass. They have saved me hundreds of hours of work and multiplied my effectiveness. I have recommended them to lots of friends because any ministry that serves leaders who serve God’s people is a great gift.

Mark Driscoll, Founding and Preaching Pastor
Mars Hill Church, Seattle

Mark Driscoll first contacted me about Docent Research. After his glowing recommendations of how Docent had improved his sermon preparation, I decided to give them a try.
Mark was right. Docent proved to be exceptional at scholarly research. I was especially impressed at the speed at which they could gather information. I've found their work most useful when I give them specific requests to help in my preparation for sermons.

Craig Groeschel, Lead Pastor
LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, OK


Who has done ghostwriting at Mars Hill Church over the years, a little help from Google and LinkedIn

Let's open up with a screen capture:


According to this morning's Google search there are a few names of people who come up about whom ghostwriting can be said to be in their skill sets in LinkedIn.  This does not necessarily establish that they did ghostwriting at or for Mars Hill Church.  This may be because they did not ghostwrite at Mars Hill Church or because they have at some point done ghostwriting but redacted their resumes at LinkedIn.  In any event, there are a handful of people who have been at Mars Hill Church who list ghostwriting in their background.  As evidence it is, admittedly, purely circumstantial.

 Nevertheless, since a proposal that Driscoll has not plagiarized but that, perhaps, a ghostwriter or assistant has some responsibility for what appears to be plagiarism, we can at least review some people who have ghostwriting as a skillset mentioned in their LinkedIn profiles who have some history with the church.  The case here is merely to establish that whether or not they did ghostwriting for Mars Hill Church specifically, people who have done ghostwriting are not hard to find who have had connections to Mars Hill.  That's all.  In fact we'll quickly see that none of these people explicitly mention ghostwriting (because, given the nature of the work, who would?) but it is listed as a skill or expertise.  With that in mind ...

Andrew Myers
Content Manager
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
October 2012 – Present (1 year 2 months) Seattle, WA
Work within the Media and Communications department to lead projects, create content, and implement strategic communication plans on behalf of the executive leadership of Mars Hill Church.

 
Communications Manager
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
November 2007 – October 2012 (5 years) Seattle, WA
As a member of executive leadership's staff, my responsibilities included administrative tasks (calendar, email, correspondence) and broad communications support: extensive writing and editing services, public relations efforts, and the organization of various projects—including fundraisers, logistics, and the development and creation of the annual report.

 
Executive Assistant
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
November 2007 – September 2011 (3 years 11 months) Greater Seattle Area
Provided administrative support for executive leadership during a period when the church grew from 6,000 to over 12,000 people. Performed traditional assistant tasks while also fulfilling extensive communications responsibilities for the organization.

 
Publications Manager
Mars Hill Church 
Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
October 2004 – November 2007 (3 years 2 months) Seattle, WA
Founding and managing editor for Vox Pop monthly magazine. Oversaw artistic development, content revisions, and production of other various publications, including theological booklets, church bulletins, and training materials. Led team of staff and volunteer writers, editors, and graphic designers to produce all publications and other communications media for Mars Hill Church. (Position began as a volunteer internship. I transitioned to full-time staff in August 2005.)

Chris Holt
Jesse Wisnewski
Jake Johnson
For more background on Johnson go here and here for his role in a couple of Mars Hill Church projects. 

Someone else who has some background in ghostwriting not captured in the above search would be Staff Writer Ryan Dorn.

Staff Writer

Mars Hill Church

Nonprofit; 51-200 employees; Religious Institutions industry
January 2013Present (11 months) Greater Seattle Area
I write a lot and it comes in many forms:

Weekly updates for leaders
Monthly newsletters for global missions and financial updates
Blog posts for www.marshill.com and www.theresurgence.com
Case studies
Internal communications and correspondence
A variety of miscellaneous copy writing/editing duties as needed

...

Ryan Dorn's Skills & Expertise

  1. Writing
  2. Portrait Photography
  3. Travel Photography
  4. Editorial Photography
  5. Social Media
  6. Commercial Photography
  7. Copywriting
  8. Journalism
  9. Ghostwriting
  10. Blogging


There's also a job opening for a Staff Writer position, possibly in addition to whatever Ryan Dorn is doing, that's still open.
aka
http://newton.newtonsoftware.com/career/JobIntroduction.action?clientId=8a699b9841584b03014161b930662538&id=8ad64ec641adc69a0141cdc8ed0d1b3d&source=

So, again, while there's not a clear case that these people have explicitly done ghostwriting at/for Mars Hill Church the church is big enough to have had a group of members or staff with ghostwriting background.  That said, what Driscoll has mentioned in the past about how he assembles books suggests that his own personal assistants helped in putting book material together.  It's not a given that people who have done that sort of work would ever mention it in resumes on, say, LinkedIn. 

at First Things, Colin Garbarino comments about Mark Driscoll, Mefferd allegations and plagiarism

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2013/11/29/flunking-mark-driscoll-for-plagiarism/

Garbarino's simple and blunt verdict is that Driscoll has flunked on citation credibility.  Moving along, Garbarino proposes that any of a small number of reasons for the plagiarism could be considered but quickly moves on to the matter of ghostwriters, since it has come up in the wake of the Mefferd allegations that perhaps Team Driscoll relies on ghostwriting and the ghostwriter may have been responsible for what not all Christians even wish to concede could possibly be plagiarism to begin with.

Garbarino closes with the consideration that maybe Driscoll isn't a plagiarism but perhaps the ghostwriter is.  Well, in academia ghostwriting is also no good and both plagiarism and ghostwriting are lying as far as Garbarino is concerned.

The matter of who may have done ghostwriting at Mars Hill Church in the last few years warrants a separate post.

Friday, November 29, 2013

February 27, 2008, Resurgence event, Mark Driscoll answers a question about how much he reads and about citation and research approach circa 2007-2008

http://theresurgence.com/2009/10/14/acts-29-director-revisits-his-beginnings-video-interview
[edit: oops, wrong link, try this one
http://www.acts29network.org/sermon/qa-with-mark-driscoll/

On Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at the Resurgence National Conference, Pastor Mark Driscoll spent sometime answering questions from the audience. Please listen as Mark explains how he structures his schedule in order to manage his role has father, husband and preacher including sermon preparation, how his role at Mars Hill has changed over the years, how he interacts with other pastors and staff at Mars Hill, his plans for eventually passing the torch, cultivating a humble response to the pressures in his life and dealing with personal struggle. ]


Seeing as the plagiarism allegations have invited discussion of how Mark Driscoll researches and cites sources it seemed useful to go back to this lengthy video and to reference where Driscoll described his reading approach in a Q&A in early 2008.  The question about how much he read in a week shows up about halfway through minute 16 and the explanation of how and how fast he read books is something Driscoll fields in the start of the 18th minute:

... I'm not necessarily the guy who sits down and reads a book because every book has things in it that I don't need at that time.  But I'll read a chapter of this book, half of this book, page of this book ... hundreds of pages a week. ...

I read very fast and I have, I don't know if it's a photographic memory but I have a very effective memory; so much so that,uh, I can remember whole quotes from paragraphs of books that I read in the late 80s that I haven't touched since then. And so even, like, writing a book like, uh, Vintage Jesus has I think, like, six hundred footnotes--I would sit down and write the manuscript and just put in the bra[cket], the parentheses for my research assistant, like, `That's in Generous Orthodoxy', that's somewhere around page 160.' Now I haven't read that since,, like, `92 but I remember the quote, I remember the book, I remember the author, I remember the publisher, and I remember roughly where it's at in the book and so then she goes and finds it and makes all the footnotes. And so that speeds things along.

My wife isn't like that. She reads slow. It's laborious, it's prayerful, it's careful and so for her to work through a book takes a long time and I tend to go through books like chicken wings. ...

Resurgence Publishing, the for-profit branch of Mars Hill executive elder activity

One of the details that should be highlighted in the wake of Janet Mefferd's interview with Mark Driscoll is one that could be missed, that not everything published in association with Mars Hill Church executive orders is really non-profit activity.  The Trial booklet, for instance, was published through Mars Hill Church and the copyright is owned by Mars Hill Church even though Mark Driscoll's name is on it.  It would appear to be that normally and traditionally works published by pastors through a church would be the intellectual property of the church.  This is not necessarily the case at Mars Hill Church.

And there's apparently a reason for this, which is that Resurgence Publishing, Inc is simply not registered as a non-profit.  Observe:


http://www.sos.wa.gov/corps/search_detail.aspx?ubi=603207560
UBI Number 603207560
Category                      REG
Profit/Nonprofit           Profit
Active/Inactive            Active
State Of Incorporation WA
WA Filing Date           05/17/2012
Expiration Date           05/31/2014
Inactive Date 
Duration                       Perpetual
Agent Name                 JOHN SUTTON TURNER 
Address                        1411 NW 50TH STREET
City                              SEATTLE 
State                             WA
ZIP                               98107 

GOVERNING PERSONS
President,Secretary,Treasurer,Chairman 

TURNER , SUTTON 
1411 NW 50TH ST
SEATTLE , WA 98107 

So that means that when you buy a book through The Resurgence store over here, you're probably buying a book with a copyright owned by the author and not the church said author might be a pastor at.

Let's take a look at some for-instances,  Darrin Patrick's book Church Planter, copyright owned by Darrin Patrick.  Then there's Community, by Brad House, who also owns the copyright to his book. Or Redemption, by Mike Wilkerson, who owns the copyright of the book. How about Scandalous, by D. A. Carson with a copyright owned by (no surprise) D. A. Carson?

Maybe that's because that's what we'd expect from a for-profit publishing company. The Resurgence is a for-profit corporation run by John Sutton Turner, an executive pastor at Mars Hill Church, its secretary and treasurer, and also, as shown above, the president, secretary, treasurer and chairman of The Resurgence.  That's a lot of formal titles and power centralized into a single person, a man who is the treasurer and secretary and who, by his own account, handles all the administrative responsibilities and decisions Mark Driscoll doesn't want to have to bother with on the one hand and, on the other, who has all the governing roles of the for-profit publishing arm developed by Mars Hill.  It's still fascinating how after all the public talk about kingly gifts and Sutton Turner that he's secretary and treasurer of Mars Hill while Driscoll is the president.  Let's not forget that when Driscoll described passing the presidency of Mars Hill to Jamie Munson back in an early 2008 presentation he said

http://www.theresurgence.com/mark_driscoll_2008-02-27_video_tnc_qa
2.28.2008

"Jamie Munson is head of the elder board. Jamie Munson is executive pastor. He is legal president of the organization. And for me, to be honest, it was the most freeing, liberating thing I could have dreamed of because now I don't have all that conflict of interest. I can be friends with someone but I don't have to fire them, do their performance review, and decide how much they get paid. It's just too conflicting for me." 
So at this point we have to surmise that Mark Driscoll being legal president of Mars Hill Church doesn't involve all that conflict of interest.  Would Driscoll be open to publicly explaining what those conflicts of interest were when he was president up through late 2007?  Let's take a brief aside to consult a definition of what a conflict of interest is. Or here, for something short and simple.

At any rate, Turner is certainly the formal and practical head of The Resurgence, and Resurgence Publishing, Inc is a for-profit corporation.  A weekend research project, if you like, could be to look at how many books Driscoll and other pastors at Mars Hill have published to look at who owns the copyright, the church or the pastor. 

So there you go.

WORLD magazine article on Steve Furtick in the wake of the mansion coverage

http://www.worldmag.com/2013/11/the_house_that_steven_built
http://www.worldmag.com/2013/11/the_house_that_steven_built/page2

To peruse at your leisure.  For earlier discussion of Steven Furtick at this blog, go here, though it's largely links to external coverage and sources establishing that there is some history between Mark Driscoll and Steven Furtick in the last two or three years.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jonathan Merrit: Mark Driscoll silent amid mounting allegations of plagiarism--

http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/11/27/mark-driscoll-silent-amid-mounting-allegations-of-plagiarism/

The larger context of this story about Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill and intellectual property may be framed with a few details in mind:

http://marshill.com/creativecommons

If I use material from one of Pastor Mark’s sermon’s do I need to cite him as the source of that material?

Yes. If you don’t cite him, you are plagiarizing. If you use content from one of Pastor Mark’s sermons or from one of his books, you need to attribute the content (whether it is a quote or paraphrase) to Pastor Mark. Also, even though we make transcripts available of our sermons, this does not mean you can take the transcript and deliver the sermon as though it is your own. This too is plagiarism.


Notice that part about citing sources even for a paraphrase.  If even an uncited paraphrase of one of Driscoll's sermons is considered plagiarism then this necessarily raises the question of whether an unattributed paraphrase by a Driscoll of someone else's material would also be considered plagiarism.  It would be problematic if Mark or Grace Driscoll or any affiliated people with Mars Hill were to paraphrase material from others without attribution while the church itself wants even paraphrases of Driscoll content given citation.  As Wenatchee The Hatchet has put it earlier, the concern here is not necessarily "just" allegations of plagiarism but the possible existence of a double standard that Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill, and its associates may have about intellectual property. 

We may also live in a time in which debate about the legitimacy of intellectual property itself is a broader part of the current news cycle. There are Christians who believe that intellectual property itself is theft for reasons Wenatchee The Hatchet is not going to get into in a post.  It is the opinion of Wenatchee, though, that copyright and intellectual property have multiple and often conflicting functions that need to be delicately balanced.  One aim is to ensure the possibility of financial benefit from creativity but another is that there can be a legally actionable basis from which to potentially adjudicate a situation of fraud.  If information wants to be completely free then it cannot be stolen, can it? 

For those who were at Mars Hill a decade and more ago you may remember the pastors used to say things such as that copyright in its traditional form was outmoded and out of date and that open copyright was a better way to go.  Go look at the terms of use web page for Mars Hill content some time.  Clearly a great deal has changed. 

Let the record show that Scott Bailey at Scotteriology stated that Mark Driscoll misrepresented the Targum Neofiti at multiple levels in a sermon from Driscoll's Doctrine series: 1) Bailey alleged that Driscoll claimed the rabbinical commentary on Genesis pre-dated the birth of Jesus when the majority of scholarship has stated it was probably written in the second century CE not BCE 2) as a pre-Christian document it would not have said anything promoting Trinitarian thought (discussed at considerably more length by Robert Cargill). And here.  While Driscoll and his fans could claim that liberal/agnostic scholars don't count Christian Brady's a Spurgeon fan and also took issue with the credibility of Driscoll/Breshears scholarship (Driscoll credited Gerry Breshears with some information on Neofiti).

So it may be worth noting that questions about plagiarism and certain comments in response from readers raise a new question, if the Trial booklet was an internal booklet for members to consult that was more of a committee effort, as some say, then there's now the question of how much of the material with Mark Driscoll's name on it may have actually been written by Mark Driscoll to begin with. 

For instance:
http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2013/11/27/mark-driscoll-silent-amid-mounting-allegations-of-plagiarism/#comment-118401

Paul               Nov 28, 2013 at 12:43 am

Well it seems the Peter Jones accusations were simply untrue. Driscoll cited Jones for coming up with the terms “one-ism” and “two-ism” and the rest is not word-for-word transposition. Driscoll was simply writing history so of course the events being accounted for will be the same regardless of author. As for these new accusations, Mefferd is grasping at straws. Driscoll is NOT even the author of the pamphlet that accompanied his 1 & 2 Peter series. I remember when this took place back in 2008. It was a study guide meant to accompany a series with many different contributors and editors. [emphasis added]

Fair enough, let's go look at who owns the copyright to the book.  If it was a Mark Driscoll book we'd expect Mark Driscoll to own the copyright directly or through a firm that owns the copyright to a book such as Real Marriage  or some possible connection to such firm but ...
http://marshill.com/files/collection/documents/trial_9086_document.pdf

even though the booklet states that the author is "by Mark Driscoll" the copyright is actually listed as Mars Hill Church.  So whatever the nature of Mefferd's allegations at this point the allegation of plagiarism would and should not merely include Driscoll alone as a variable but perhaps also Mars Hill Church as a corporation?  Maybe?

Now if Tall Skinny Kiwi is right in saying Mark Driscoll is not guilty of intentionally plagiarizing and if the booklet Mefferd cites as a case of plagiarizing is a work with a copyright owned by Mars Hill Church and not Mark Driscoll himself then maybe Tall Skinny Kiwi's got a point.  If so then the broader question of plagiarism-or-not connected to Mark Driscoll could be shifted to include Mars Hill as a whole.  If Mars Hill Church owns the copyright in a work that turns out to be an act of plagiarism then Mars Hill would become legally responsible.  ... of course since Mark Driscoll is the legal president of Mars Hill Church as a corporation this all may be a bit moot. Incidentally there's now a Mars Hill Church Investment Fund, LLC and a Mars Hill Foundation for Planting Churches.

In any event, happy Thanksgiving for folks in the United States.  For folks in Canada and elsewhere may you have a safe and pleasant day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dave Bruskas urges people to prepare for the Malachi series at Mars Hill Church


Mars Hill | New Discussion Topic

Pastor David Bruskas
From Pastor David Bruskas:
Pastor Mark has started a new series on the book of Malachi: Living for a Legacy. The very first verse of the book says, “The oracle of the word of the Lord to Israel.” He pointed out an obvious, yet life-changing truth: the God of the Bible speaks. It is one of our greatest privileges as his children to hear from him and have access through Jesus Christ to talk back to him.
As part of our Mars Hill Church Family, we invite you to join in boldly praying—to petition the throne of grace purposefully and daily—that doors would be opened for us to tell more people about Jesus in 2014. We will launch Living for a Legacy through Prayer, a church-wide 40-day prayer initiative, this Sunday, December 1st.
We have created a prayer booklet/guide to use during your personal time with Jesus throughout the 40 days. Make sure to pick one up at your church on Sunday. There will also be corresponding and helpful material on Marshill.com. These are the specific areas for prayer that will be highlighted during this intentional time:
  1. Mars Hill Global
  2. Jesus Festival
  3. Biblical University and Seminary hosted at Mars Hill Church
  4. Five Mars Hill church plant/replants: Phoenix, Olympia, Tacoma, Everett, and Huntington Beach
  5. Pastor Mark Driscoll’s new campaign on Christianity and culture beginning September 7, 2014
During these forty days, we are praying for $2,000,000 over and above our donors’ tithes to fund these endeavors in 2014. We believe Jesus has given the vision, so we trust that he will graciously provide the means to do it through his people. If the Holy Spirit leads you to give during these focused days of prayer, please visit marshill.com/give.
We will conclude the 40 days with five days of fasting, beginning at sundown on January 5th, calling our people to abstain from food. We will also have alternative fasts for those who cannot forego food for health purposes. By fasting, we express our hunger for Jesus to forward his mission in our hearts, homes, churches, and communities. We will then, as a gathered family at each of our locations, celebrate by breaking our fasts on the evening of Friday, January 10th. 
We would be grateful if you would please begin praying now for enthusiastic participation across the entire church. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “always lives to make intercession” for us (7:25)—what an honor and joy to join him!
Pastor Dave

  View this topic on The City »
No comments from Wenatchee The Hatchet at this time.  That said, the 2 million dollar "over and above our donors' tithes to fund these endeavors in 2013" makes it seem like it'd be worthwhile to visit Mars Hill's history of attempts at seminary-style education.  Where's that Masters in Missional Leadership program through the Resurgence Training Center these days? 

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

http://www.janetmefferd.com/plagiarism-examine/
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"

http://www.janetmefferd.com/wp-content/uploads/MATERIAL-SCREENSHOTS-HERE.pdf


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.

http://marshill.com/2013/11/23/we-even-lie-about-our-lying

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

http://pastormark.tv/2012/04/16/an-official-response-to-the-kerfuffle-at-liberty-university

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.