Friday, July 04, 2014

Tyndale standing by Driscoll, a year after WtH first broached the question of Real Marriage's use of material from Allender without citation
As recent coverage elsewhere has been establishing, Tyndale's lack of relationship to Mark Driscoll and Tyndale's lack of plans to publish more work by Driscoll may have been misunderstood.

Okay then, then the fact that an entire year ago Wenatchee The Hatchet first raised the issue of why Grace Driscoll's chapter 7 of Real Marriage seemed so steeped in the writings and wording of Dan Allender without so much as a footnote in the initial print edition of the book is still worth remembering.  This is, after all, the one year anniversary.

At the time some of the reactions to just the idea that Grace Driscoll made use of Dan Allender's ideas and even specific phrases without attribution was a sort of yawn on the internet.  It didn't get a whole ton of attention.  That makes sense because Wenatchee The Hatchet is just, you know, some blog. In time maybe a couple thousand people read it or just clicked on it.

Months later, in September 2013, Wenatchee The Hatchet documented what was in chapter 7 of Real Marriage and chapter 9 of Allender's The Wounded Heart.

Maybe 1400 people total clicked on that or read it. 

So now it's a year later and Wenatchee The Hatchet has since learned that not only did Grace Driscoll's chapter make use of Dan Allender's work without attribution and that this was done despite Grace Driscoll having publicly listed Allender as one of her favorite authors at the old site circa 1999-2001.

So it wasn't as though either Mark or Grace Driscoll could say that they had no familiarity with Allender's work.  Even by 2006 at a mens' retreat Mark Driscoll mentioned Allender's work.
from the training camp schedule

and from a page of the same hand-out, a mention of Allender
So beyond the simple problem that there were resources available in 2006 for sexual abuse victims,  that were made use of by people Mark Driscoll said he personally appointed to handle those kinds of ministry aims, Grace Driscoll had already been familiar with Allender's book The Wounded Heart since at least 2001. This matters because, when Grace Driscoll regaled readers of Real Marriage with how inadequate resources were circa 2006ish (when she shared her story about something that she didn't realize was abuse until Mark Driscoll told her it was ) in spite of her half-decade of familiarity with Dan Allender's work, there not only were books available within the Mars Hill community that were considered useful, they were apparently considered useful enough to take ideas from without giving attribution. 

Additionally, Grace Driscoll's narrative that there were few resources in 2006 when she shared a story with Mark Driscoll is that not only were there resources, there were resources by authors whose works continued to get recommended at Mars Hill all the way up through 2013.  Ed Welch books started being made available to MH members as far back as 2006 and ...
dead link

Don't bother with the WayBack Machine.  robots.txt has ensured now previous captures are possible. 

So it's been a year since Wenatchee The Hatchet broached the subject of Mark and Grace Driscoll having made use of Allender's ideas without giving credit to him in the initial print of Real Marriage, which turned out to have been bought a place on the New York Times best seller list via a contract signed by Sutton Turner in late 2011. 

In the last year Janet Mefferd made her allegation that Mark Driscoll was a plagiarist on air.  Warren Throckmorton began to document the seven books that have citation errors that have since been getting fixed  Warren Smith at World Magazine broke the news that Result Source Inc had a contract with Mars Hill to buy a spot for Real Marriage on the NYT best seller list.  Wenatchee The Hatchet had enough concerns about the not-really-a-bestseller book based just on the use of Allender's ideas without attribution.

In the controversy that has erupted since the day Wenatchee The Hatchet first broached the possibility that the Driscolls may have plagiarized Allender's work, there has been a lot more discussion of Mark Driscoll as a lightning rod for controversy than questions in the blogging and publishing realms about what level of failure within the Christian publishing and broadcasting industry let a controversy like Mark Driscoll's books become even a potential controversy.  If Driscoll's defenders want to say that Driscoll's critics have fixated on a few honest mistakes that's kind of the problem, even if mistakes were made they were of a sort that potentially implicates an entire industry, Christian commercial (rather than academic) publishing and broadcasting. 

At no point has the Board of Advisors and Accountability addressed that Mark Driscoll had seven books that had citation errors but it did admit to the fact that Mars Hill Church used Result Source Inc to secure a #1 spot for a Driscoll book. 

Result Source
In 2011, outside counsel advised our marketing team to use Result Source to market the Real Marriage book and attain placement on the New York Times Bestseller list. While not uncommon or illegal, this unwise strategy is not one we had used before or since, and not one we will use again. The true cost of this endeavor was much less than what has been reported, and to be clear, all of the books purchased through this campaign have been given away or sold through normal channels. All monies from the sale of Pastor Mark’s books at Mars Hill bookstores have always gone to the church and Pastor Mark did not profit from the Real Marriage books sold either at the church or through the Result Source marketing campaign.

For sake of review, the BOAA includes Paul Tripp:
Dr. Tripp joins the current Board members: Michael Van Skaik, Dr. James MacDonald, Dr. Larry Osborne, Mark Driscoll, Dave Bruskas, and Sutton Turner. This Board of Advisors and Accountability was voted upon and installed by an overwhelmingly supportive vote from the entire eldership, with every single elder who voted doing so in approval.

Let's recall that Sutton Turner was the one who signed the Result Source contract to begin with.  It turns out Sutton Turner, Dave Bruskas, and James MacDonald were with Mark Driscoll when he crashed the Strange Fire conference last year to promote A Call to Resurgence.  So Turner signed the contract to buy Real Marriage a #1 spot on the NYT list and also joined Mark Driscoll in crashing Strange Fire, back when Driscoll tweeted that security confiscated his books ... and this is a BOAA that does what, exactly? 

Makes statements standing by members of the BOAA, it seems. 
The BOAA stands unreservedly behind Pastors Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas as the Executive Elders of Mars Hill Church. We deeply appreciate their endurance through false accusation, their submission to authority, and their humility where regrettable decisions from the past have come to light. We are thankful to God for His grace, which is evident in all that he allows for our good and his glory. We are confident that God is preparing Pastor Mark and the ministry of Mars Hill Church for a great harvest of souls in the days ahead.

Since the BOAA includes Mark Driscoll, Sutton Turner and Dave Bruskas then it's not a huge surprise the BOAA would stand unreservedly behind them if four of seven of them were crashing the Strange Fire conference while Driscoll was tweeting or posting to Instagram about the field trip.  The BOAA can disclose what the true cost is and exactly who paid for it if they want the world to take this statement as given. The defense mounted on behalf of the BOAA (which, it must be noted, included Sutton Turner, who personally signed the contract) was that the kind of contract signed by MH with RSI was "not uncommon or illegal". As for the lower cost mentioned by the BOAA, in light of Mark Driscoll being invoiced by RSI the BOAA might have to concede that the scandal wasn't just about how much it cost to rig sales but that sales were rigged to begin with. 

Just because something is not uncommon and not illegal doesn't mean evangelicals should consider that a compelling defense.  After all, conservative evangelicals don't buy a defense of "not uncommon" or "not illegal" on the subject of abortion or premarital sex ... and yet the BOAA opted to go with a "not uncommon or illegal." That was the best defense they could think of, it seems.

The last year has been one of the more "trying seasons" in the recent history of Mars Hill.  It's a shame that the members of the Board of Advisors and Accountability, who now turn out to have set in motion the actions and words that caused all the controversies to begin with, seem so loathe to address the scope of what they have personally brought upon Mars Hill in the last few years either in public or even, it may be, to Mars Hill. 


One of the things that has become clear in the last three years is that when there is an opportunity to sound off about Mars Hill people take one or make one even if establishing a few basic facts about what has happened isn't always done at the outset.  One of the reasons Mars Hill and its defenders have been able to dig their heels in about a general defense in the wake of criticism is that they feel outsiders don't have all the facts, don't have the full story, and are already against Mars Hill anyway.  Unfortunately for those who would opt to position themselves as making public comments about Mars Hill that has all too often proven to be the case.  Wenatchee The Hatchet took some time earlier this year to correct a disappointingly lengthy series of factual errors in a piece by Valerie Tarico for AlterNet that was published in April 2014

While corrections can be made after the fact, as with Mark Driscoll's own citation errors, it would surely have been nice if all the facts and sources had been ironed out the first time.  Then again, Mars Hill has spent so much of the last five months purging a mountain of media content from its media library it arguably might take people with an actual history in Mars Hill to even try to keep up with the changes that have been taking place. 

Wenatchee The Hatchet can give it a shot.

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