Saturday, December 21, 2013

A comparison of Grace Driscoll's chapter 7 from Real Marriage to Dan Allender's chapter 9 of The Wounded Heart

It's striking that the Driscoll apology was issued through Tyndale and not also at Pastor Mark TV or at Resurgence or at Mars Hill. No, folks, some internal communication via The City would not count, particularly if all it did was essentially link to the public Tyndale statement. 

So as you approach the coming holiday here's a trip down memory lane, material posted in late September 2013, linked to by Janet Meffered, and re-published for consideration.

Real Marriage Chapter 7, part 2: comparing Grace Driscoll's writing to Dan Allender's writing from The Wounded Heart  

Real Marriage, the book by Mark and Grace Driscoll, has been a topic for blogging before here at Wenatchee The Hatchet, here, specifically.  In the interest of promoting education and discussion of the two books mentioned in the earlier post here are back to back comparisons of short excerpts from Dan Allender's book and Mark and Grace Driscoll's book.  It is worth repeating that at no point in Grace Driscoll's chapter "Grace and Disgrace" is Allender's name mentioned, nor is his work mentioned in any endnotes, footnotes, or bibliography. 
That Grace Driscoll publicly listed Dan Allender as one of her favorite authors in her deacon profile in the earlier days of Mars Hill is easily documented.

Chapter 9, "Style of Relating"
Dan Allender, original copyright 1990 by NAVPRESS
ISBN 08910-92897
Grace Driscoll
Chapter 7, "Grace and Disgrace"
Real Marriage: the truth about sex, friendship and life together
Mark and Grace Driscoll
copyright 2012 by On Mission, LLC
ISBN 978-1-4041-8352-0
The following excerpts are presented for the sake of education and encouraging public discussion about the two books. 
"Style of relating" compared to "the masks of the abused person"

A relational style is the "typical" way of protecting oneself in contact with other people. Self-protection is, in essence, the commitment to never be hurt again, to never be powerless, betrayed or ambivalent in the way we once were.
page 171 of Allender
There are as many styles of relating as there are people. Nevertheless, there are some general patterns that can become common styles of relating for those who have been sexually abused: The Good Girl, the Tough Girl, and the Party Girl.
page 174
A person who has been abused can become adept at hiding the pain behind a mask. It helps us cope with others and makes us feel safe, but in truth it's really just something that prevents us from actually dealing with the abuse. ... Do you act out a role or hide behind a mask? ...
page 129 of Driscolls
The Good Girl (with “religious girl” subdivision in the Driscoll book)               

The Good Girl is pleasant, but rarely alive. The woman who described herself as a "house with the lights on, but never at home" was a Good Girl.  She responded with pleasant warmth and social ease, but she never viewed herself as alive within herself. 
... The Good Girl would rather allow her health to deteriorate than ask for help. 
page 174
... The person involved with a Good Girl often feels invited to use or take her for granted.
page 175
To cope with the pain I initially pretended to be a "good girl", outwardly displaying kindness, patience, smiles, and quick apologies without true repentance.  ... Though I seemed happy I was emotionally shut down and disengaged at any deep levels.
[on the "religious girl"]
If people needed advice, I would give them a verse or a book to read, not considering how I should apply it first. If people needed help, I would serve them without question, even enabling or allowing people to use me. ... I didn't like recognition for my service, but if people didn't seem grateful, I was bothered by it.
page 130

The Tough Girl
The Tough Girl is the classic take-charge, task-oriented, no-nonsense, ramrod, whose heart may be as good as gold, but is usually just as hard. 
… the Tough Girl is above her own feelings, suspicious of others' motives , and arrogant and angry in her evaluations of others.  She views human need as childish and unnecessary. 
... A Tough Girl views her longings as sentimental, sloppy, and weak; they are a defect that must be eradicated. ... At her core, however, her hunger for involvement is severely undermined by her refusal to be dependent on anyone. She views her longings as a sign of weakness whenever she cannot resolve her heartaches on her own.
page 178
A mask I didn't wear, but that is common, is "tough girl". She seems in control, confident, unaffected by the world's pressures, and not at all needy.  She often leads with making people fear her, and as a result isn't liked by many.
page 130
She pretends to embrace being alone, but inwardly wishes for relationship and closeness. Her hard exterior keeps people at arm's length and avoids her getting hurt. She is critical and doest trust people, and works hard to be the protector of others.
page 131

The Party Girl
The Party Girl is the classic easygoing, good-time lady sometimes intense and other times mellow. She is predictably inconsistent, hard to read, and impossible to pin down in close relationships. One factor behind her capricious style is her ability to use competently both self-centered and other-centered contempt.
page 181
... It's as if the Party Girl won't allow herself to be too troubled, because she knows it will lead to a point that requires honesty, commitment, and strength.  It is far easier to laugh or cry over her pain and then walk away from it, than it is to actually enter the unknown.
page 182

Another mask I had worn in high school was the "party girl." I liked to have "fun" and numb the pain with alcohol. Some use drugs, food or being funny all the time as party masks. They may be sarcastic or use jokes to change the subject if the mood gets too serious. Their names are associated with fun, so they are always invited to events and seem to love a crowd. Sadly, it's the perfect place to hide and not be known as an individual.
page 130

For those who didn't follow the link presented earlier from The WayBack Machine. 

Wendy Alsup addresses the Tyndale statement regarding Driscoll and plagiarism ...


... despite statements this week from Tyndale publishers, there is a great deal more that Pastor Mark Driscoll has not addressed concerning plagiarism. I am particularly concerned about references in Death by Love and Real Marriage to Dan Allender's material from Wounded Hearts, which was the primary resource used at Mars Hill in the early Grace Groups which addressed sexual abuse around 2002 - 2007. As I pointed out last year in Our Review of Real Marriage, Real Marriage talks of a time at Mars Hill when real people were involved with the Driscolls and horribly sinned against in the midst of Mark's angry season with his wife that he recounts in the book. The way the Driscolls treat Allender's book is tied to the way they treated the elder that organized the original groups dealing with sexual abuse in which Grace Driscoll first found her voice on the subject. They built upon both's work while erasing them from their church history. Recognizing the plagiarism is just a drop in an already overflowing bucket. [emphasis added] It will bless the ministry of Mars Hill to examine how that bucket got so full and what it's cost those around Mark who were cut off by him during this angry season.

There are even bigger issues of citation in Who Do You Think You Are? These three books are published through Thomas Nelson, not Tyndale which released a statement this week. I wrote Thomas Nelson a few times privately, hoping they would address this, but I have not heard anything from them over the last 2 weeks.

But, again, the plagiarism is just a drop in the bucket compared to the “throwing loyal friends under the bus” that Jared Wilson mentions in this article and that Mark himself jokes about during the same time he was destroying the reputation of elders that had stood beside him for years. Mark has thrown his elders, deacons, and assistants under the bus for years. It means little to the average reader until 1) either YOU have been run over by Mark's bus or 2) you watch other dear Christians run over, while you are powerless to ease their pain. [emphasis added]

I wasn't thrown under the bus personally. I thank God for that, for I can then point these things out without fighting my own personal bitterness against my own personal wounds. However, I live in a city full of casualties of Mark's bus. The sin against them is real. The need to publicly and privately repent and repair is real. And it is not gossip to draw public attention to it.


There are a few things that can be said about the Tyndale statement and one is that it is possible to misread the nature of what it says.

In the days following the interview, the talk show host posted on her blog further allegations of plagiarism against Pastor Driscoll, complete with screenshots of other books where she alleged he had committed plagiarism. She later removed all of those posts and issued a public apology.

She has not retracted the allegations and is convinced that Driscoll did plagiarize.  The public apology was for how she publicly broached the evidence she believed she found for plagiarism rather than privately contacting Tyndale.  Readers should avoid jumping to the conclusion that Mefferd apologized for alleging that Driscoll plagiarized.

In a December 11, 2013 article written by Ruth Graham at Slate, a week before the Tyndale statement, Mefferd had already made clear that she was not apologetic about the substance of her allegations.
“I stand by my allegations of insufficient sourcing, absolutely and unequivocally,” she said by email.
“His plagiarism is a very serious ethical and moral breach. Academics and journalists alike have lost their jobs over less than what Mark Driscoll has done.”

For those who read/heard the apology she was apologizing about the public tone of how she broached the topic rather than the substance of what her allegations were.  Does it seem almost Driscollian to apologize for tone while resolutely refusing to apologize for substance?  Wenatchee The Hatchet has begun to wonder ...


Back to the Tyndale statement, on the subject of the 1 & 2 Peter study guide

2.   In a separate issue unrelated to any Tyndale title, the radio host also made an allegation with regard to a study guide that was published in-house at Mars Hill. In this instance, Pastor Driscoll agrees that errors were made. He says: 

In recent weeks, it was brought to my attention that our 2009 Trial study guide on 1&2 Peter contained passages from an existing work for which no proper citation to the original work was provided. The error was unintentional, but serious nonetheless.  I take responsibility for all of this. In order to make things right, we’ve contacted the publisher of the works used in the study guide, offered an apology, and agreed to work with them to resolve any issues they had. Also, I personally contacted one of the editors of the work that was not rightly attributed. Thankfully, he and I have a longstanding relationship, which includes him teaching at Mars Hill and publishing a book with us through Resurgence. He’s a godly man who has been very gracious through all of this. I am deeply thankful for his acceptance of my apology, as I deeply grieve this mistake with a brother in Christ whom I appreciate very much.

Our Full Council of Elders and Board of Advisors and Accountability have all been thoroughly informed, as I am gladly under authority both internally at Mars Hill to a team of Elders, and to a formal leadership team from outside of Mars Hill.

We’ve removed the free PDF version of Trial from our website, and we are reviewing the rest of our self-published materials to ensure that no similar mistakes have been made elsewhere. We are also making changes to our content development process to avoid these mistakes in the future. In addition, we are working with all of our past publishers to review other books we have published. If other mistakes were made, we want to correct them as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, when we removed the Trial PDF from the Mars Hill website, we replaced it with a statement that claimed the book was never sold. That study guide was originally created for in-house small group use at Mars Hill so we gave it away at our church. We first believed we did not receive any revenue from this, but we later discovered that Trial was in fact previously sold on the Resurgence website and by Logos Software. To the best of our knowledge, total profits to Mars Hill from these sales are $236.35. We have corrected the previous statement on our website, and apologize for this error as well.

Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for. As a Bible teacher, I know that Jesus loves us and uses everything for good. I know he cares very much that we do things in a way that reflects his glory. As a result, I have been praying that he would help me learn through all of this to become more like him and more effective for him.”

It's striking how differently this statement from Driscoll is in print compared to his usual sermons.  A lot of passive voice.  Precisely who made what mistakes was vaguely fielded by Mars Hill over here:
In the Downloads tab:
In 2009, Pastor Mark preached through 1 & 2 Peter in a sermon series called Trial. To help our small groups, a team of people including a research assistant, put together a free study guide that was produced in-house. About 5 years later it was brought to our attention that it contained some citation errors. We have discovered that during the editing process, content from other published sources were mistaken for research notes. These sentences were adapted instead of quoted directly. We are grateful this was brought to our attention, and we have removed that document from our website to correct the mistake. Additionally, we are examining all of our similar content as a
precautionary measure.

But as James Duncan has stated at Pajama Pages whoever produced the final publication knew enough to cite Athanasius without citing the author of the article who'd cited Athanasius along the way.


When this statement was made it apparently did not account for the existence of this:

... In the past year and a half the Executive Elders of the church have freed up more of my time and energy to grow in my study and communication of Scripture. This includes a Preaching and Theology branch being built for me under the leadership of Pastor AJ Hamilton. Our team has some amazingly gifted people in areas such as video, audio, lighting, set design, graphics, theming, promotions, and more. The team has become so skilled that they actually recently finished filming their first full-length film in Hollywood as a side project. And, if that were not enough, my friends at Logos Bible Software have loaded up my MacBook Pro with the best Bible study tools and books ever assembled in a software package. So, in addition to my personal library of perhaps 4,000-5,000 books, I now have even more books on my laptop, which enables me to work even during days of solitude or travel.

and, in the same paragraph:

... On top of all this, I have an amazing research assistant and friend from Docent Research Group named Justin Holcomb, who earned two M.A.'s from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and a Ph.D. in theological studies from Emory University. [emphasis added] He teaches courses in religious studies and sociology at the University of Virginia and at Reformed Theological Seminary, and he serves as the Director of Graduate Ministries at the Center for Christian Study in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has been humble enough to do a great deal of research for me, which, along with the work of my helpful friend and editing assistant Deacon Crystal Griffin, allows me to produce content at a pace I would never have thought possible. [emphasis added] Between articles, blogs, books, and curriculum, I am now sending out literally thousands of pages of content a year, as well as preaching and teaching hundreds of hours of content a year. In short, I have been lavishly blessed, and I love my job as much as anyone could ever love a job. Admittedly, the hours are long and the work is hard, but I am doing exactly what God made me to do and placed in my heart among my deepest desires. ...

The paragraph eventually winds up to an end not with a period but with a colon:

... This all culminates in the Trial series on 1-2 Peter, which sets a new standard for all future preaching series. I have so benefited from the service of others that I wanted to do more than ever to help our people learn these amazing books of the Bible. So this Sunday we kick things off, and here is what you will get:
  • A free copy of the Trial curriculum book, which is also available online for free. This 200-page book includes my introductory articles on Peter, the books he wrote, and the role of parents in instructing their children. Included in the free book are dinner discussion questions I wrote to help parents teach 1-2 Peter to their own children. Pastor Brad House has also included the Community Group discussion questions for the entire series.
  • A free copy of a 12,000-word introduction and overview of 1-2 Peter compiled by my research assistant. This content is available only on The City, our password-protected social networking site. If you register for The City at one of our campuses during the series, you will get this special gift that will not be posted online for the general public.
  • Lastly, the children's ministry will also spend the next seven months studying 1-2 Peter, as we have also developed our own curriculum for them following the sermon series.
The above url is thoroughly dead now but the horse has left the stable.  It was simple for readers to connect the dots between the Mars Hill statement that a team of people worked on the Trial study guide and that this team, as credited by Mark Driscoll himself, included Justin Holcomb and Crystal Griffin. Maybe this will work? Maybe not.  Scrubbing has happened since the Mefferd allegations came down so if it works then maybe it works for a time. When Mars Hill stated that sentences were adapted instead of quoted directly there's a bit more that needs to be considered.  Consider the observations of James Duncan at Pajama Pages.  Presented for your consideration are some of Duncan's observations about the evidence Mefferd provided about the Trial study guide.


... The three paragraphs documented by Janet Mefferd are clearly plagiarism. The footnotes in Driscoll’s work also make it fabrication. At my school, we define fabrication as follows (emphasis added):
Fabrication is the intentional use of invented information or the falsification of research or other findings with the intent to deceive. Examples:
1. Citation of information not taken from the source indicated.
2. Listing sources in a bibliography not used in the academic exercise, unless directed by the instructor to list references consulted even if not cited.
3. Inventing data or source information for research or other academic exercise.
The in-text citations in the work Driscoll copied from
The in-text citations in the work Driscoll copied from

Not only did Driscoll copy the words, he manipulated the citations in the source material to make it appear as though he had done the research himself. By so doing, it shows that he understands the value of citations and research, but decided to deceive the reader into believing that he had done that work himself. Think about the effort it took to reformat those in-text citations and add them to his book as footnotes. Why not also footnote the original book? He did know how to use them.
The relocated and reformatted citations in Driscoll's book
The relocated and reformatted citations in Driscoll’s book

In soccer, a player can get a yellow card from a referee to warn for rough play or a bad tackle. Two yellows and the player is ejected from the game. A particularly egregious foul can be awarded a straight red. No warning. No doubts. Expelled.

With the manipulation of the footnotes, Driscoll has compounded his deception, and worked even harder to mask it. No yellow here. No warning. This is an easy call: Straight Red.

James Duncan's conclusion from the evidence made available by Mefferd was that the person who summarized the material without quoting it also had to have taken the effort to cite material researched in the secondary literature while presenting it as primary research. 

Now it's worth revisiting that Intervarsity Press publicly stated that the material in the study guide was not properly cited and that if it had been this would have been acceptable under Fair Use.

It is also worth nothing that Docent Group has stated that Holcomb provided ample documentation for proper citation of materials in the published study guide.  Warren Throckmorton has blogged a bit about this in the last few weeks.  See here and here. The publicly announced addition of Holcomb to Mars Hill was noted by Jared C. Wilson over at his blgo and by Driscoll.  Wilson's post from 2009 gets quoted and discussed here. So by the time MH PR seemed to implicitly blame other people besides Driscoll there was simply too much external testimony and primary testimony from MH itself to leave any doubt which parties were most likely involved in the assembly of the study guide for 1 & 2 Peter.  Docent Group has vouched for Holcomb and Throckmorton's research also seems to indicate Holcomb provided what was necessary for proper citation. 

So when Driscoll states "mistakes were made" and that he accepts responsibility for them the nature of the citation errors is not just a case of mistaken lack of attribution.  James Duncan's opinion, at least, suggests that fabrication of citation was also involved.   If Mars Hill wanted to take care to do things in a slow and appropriate way the implicit blame of a team of researchers for mistakes in the wake of Janet Mefferd's explicit allegation that Mark Driscoll plagiarized took the path of implicitly blaming other people for mistakes that Mefferd alleged were acts of plagiarism.  How, exactly, that is Mars Hill or Mark Driscoll taking responsibility could be explained further, couldn't it?

What the Tyndale statement highlights is that Mars Hill public statements and public relations have obfuscated rather than clarified things at a few points.  Throckmorton caught that Mars Hill altered a statement about the study guide over here.  Mars Hill public statements in the last month have muddied the waters rather than clarified things at several stages.  Even Driscoll himself has written that Mars Hill inaccurately stated the book was never sold. 


And it's generally true the books were not sold but given away and not just inside of Mars Hill.  In an article written by Nathan Finn in April 2012 a story gets shared about how the Trial study guide was also given to soldiers on deployment. Finn opens his piece sharing how he himself was a recipient of materials sent by Mars Hill Church.  Finn is no longer associated with Mars Hill Church but at the time he headed up the Mars Hill Church military ministry.

In fact I was one of the original recipients of resources sent out by Mars Hill’s Military Mission while I was deployed in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2008.

At that time, books like Vintage Jesus and Death by Love were sent along with several of Pastor Mark’s recorded sermon series burned on DVD . I remember the first time I received a box of resources: I was thrilled to hand them out to my fellow Marines. I broke open the DVDs and saw the immediate curiosity of the Marines in my unit.

...  It’s now 2012, four years later. These days, I work for Mars Hill Church, and I have the amazing privilege of leading our Military Ministry. 

... There is no way we will be able to know exactly how many people have been reached because of this ministry because the resources get shared so many times over, but you can be sure it is currently in the thousands. We just received a request for our resources from an officer in the Australian Royal Army. So not only are we reaching American military personnel but we are now reaching our allied forces.

While not a named person, Finn looks like he quotes from someone who was sent a copy of the Trial study guide, an army chaplain:

Here are some other examples of who and where we are shipping resources to and how God is using them:
While I was deployed to Mosul, Iraq with 3-8 CAV , Mars Hill’s Military Mission sent me many resources that helped me minister to my soldiers as their battalion chaplain. From the Vintage Jesus DVD  series, study booklets for the Trial sermon series [WtH, dead link, try here instead], and other books written by Mark Driscoll, the resources they sent us supplemented three weekly Bible studies, mentoring opportunities, and a tremendous spiritual renewal throughout our lower enlisted ranks, NCOs and officers. Mars Hill Military Mission made an incredible impact for the kingdom of God among the [Camp] Warhorse families during a difficult deployment.
—an Army chaplain in Iraq 

Whoever that army chaplain may have been, it turns out that the study booklet for the Trial sermon series had some citation errors. 

What is striking about the Tyndale statement and Driscoll's statement is not just what is said but what isn't said.  Removing the open letter mentioning Holcomb, House and Griffin as having roles in the assembly of the Trial booklet won't undo having implicitly blamed people who had identifiable and verifiable roles to play in the assembly of the study guide.  At this point the MH PR statement mentioning a team and a research assistant either implicitly blamed Holcomb, House and Griffin or permitted bloggers to conclude that these people were responsible for citation errors with, or rather than, Driscoll.  Brad House drafted study guide questions.  Crystal Griffin was credited with editing, and Holcomb was credited as a research assistant but the introduction to the guide has Mark Driscoll's name on it and Driscoll's alone. An apology to someone like D. A. Carson may be a good thing but what about apologies to those who were, as the internet has shown, implicitly but awkwardly blamed for what Driscoll has just recently publicly taken responsibility for?

The apology Driscoll has issued is, as another has said, a start.  But the apology was issued through Tyndale and Tyndale looks forward to continuing business with Driscoll.  Where is the corresponding apology published at Mars Hill Church's own web presence?  A concession of this magnitude on the part of Mark Driscoll seems like it should be big enough to show up on Pastor Mark TV.  Does it?  The statement was posted December 18, 2013.  What showed up in its wake at Pastor Mark TV?

Ah, of course, the mistakes single people make.   Because there's no reason to publicly share a link at Pastor Mark TV about the recognition that the Trial study guide had citation errors if you can recycle a bromide about the mistakes single people can make about marriage for the 18,000th time.

Conspicuously absent from the Tyndale statement or from Driscoll are questions that have been raised about some other books.  While Mefferd pulled all her materials dealing with alleged plagiarism in four books her references to Real Marriage linked to Wenatchee The Hatchet.  All that material is still here.

And on that subject ...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tyndale releases statement about Driscoll's A Call to Resurgence

Tyndale and Driscoll mainly address A Call to Resurgence. Tyndale and Driscoll consider the allusions to the work of Peter Jones sufficient to be proper citation within market standards, as has been stated before.

With respect to Mefferd's evidence of improper use of material without citation of material published by Intervarsity Press in the Trial study guide Driscoll agrees that errors were made. Driscoll mentions meeting with an editor to discuss the situation and apologize.  This was probably D. A. Carson, though Driscoll does not name names--Carson has a book published through Resurgence, if memory serves, and was one of the editors in the volume published by Intervarsity Press that Mefferd said was not properly cited in the study guide for the 1 & 2 Peter series.

Driscoll also clarified that MH initially stated inaccurately that the guide was never sold. 

Unfortunately, when we removed the Trial PDF from the Mars Hill website, we replaced it with a statement that claimed the book was never sold. That study guide was originally created for in-house small group use at Mars Hill so we gave it away at our church. We first believed we did not receive any revenue from this, but we later discovered that Trial was in fact previously sold on the Resurgence website and by Logos Software. To the best of our knowledge, total profits to Mars Hill from these sales are $236.35. We have corrected the previous statement on our website, and apologize for this error as well.

As was noted at The Resurgence the extra copies of the book were sold at cost to recover printing expenses.  So it would appear that there should have been no profit at all from sale of the remaining books of they were simply sold at cost but Logos was not necessarily going to just sell a set of books at cost once they acquired the extra books. 

Also of note from Driscoll:

 Our Full Council of Elders and Board of Advisors and Accountability have all been thoroughly informed, as I am gladly under authority both internally at Mars Hill to a team of Elders, and to a formal leadership team from outside of Mars Hill.

This board currently consists of :
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

Three of these men are not currently listed as pastors at Mars Hill Church and the other three are executive elders, including Mark Driscoll himself.  If the board has as one of its aims to keep Mark Driscoll accountable some reassurance as to precisely how and why a board with Driscoll himself on board with men who are employees of Mars Hill Church, the corporation he is legally president of, would be good to provide some time.

Mefferd has clarified via tweet that she mentioned four books and not merely two.  One of the books she made reference to is Real Marriage.  Wenatchee The Hatchet has previously published a comparison of Grace Driscoll's chapter 7 of Real Marriage to Dan Allender's chapter 9 of The Wounded Heart.  While Tyndale and Intervarsity Press have weighed in on recent events Thomas Nelson has not made any statements, nor have Dan Allender or NavPress, have they? 

Furthermore not all concerns raised about books by Mark Driscoll have focused on allegations of plagiarism or ghostwriting.  At Heidelblog an objection was raised to the historical credibility of the assertion that Jacob Arminius was the son-in-law of John Calvin.  Since Mefferd has mentioned that she discussed more than just two books a reader may consult this link for further reading. 

The public statement by Tyndale and Mark Driscoll lays to rest their understanding of the recently released A Call to Resurgence and the study guide for the 1 & 2 Peter series preached at Mars Hill Church. Some kind of public acknowledgment on the part of Mark and Grace Driscoll to the influence of Dan Allender's work within their lives and the history of Mars Hill Church has yet to be made.

Jared Wilson addresses the Driscoll news cycle at The Gospel Coalition

Wilson refers to times when he has differed from Driscoll on a number of points.  Given the degree to which identity politics and alignments might inspire "puh-leaze" commentary we're still leaving comments off the table.  Wilson's public dissent from Driscollian opinions has some significance because, as Wilson puts it so clearly, he considers himself indebted to many positive elements of Driscoll's influence.

At the time that this was written the Tyndale statement had likely not yet been released and so ...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Warren Throckmorton keeps tabs the MHC scrub jobs & the historical error in Death by Love, let's revisit the egregious error in the 2008 doctrine series by Driscoll/Breshears scholars have already discussed

It's handy that Warren Throckmorton is keeping up with all the links and content that have been scrubbed by Mars Hill Church that have to do with Trial, the study guide for the 1 & 2 Peter series.
Wenatchee The Hatchet couldn't keep tabs on all that stuff all the time, obviously. 

Apparently even Driscoll's gushing letter to Mars Hill Church about Justin Holcomb and Docent group is gone these days.

Throckmorton also notes what R. Scott Clark has shared about the disastrously inaccurate claim Driscoll/Breshears made about Calvin and Arminius.  One of the most egregious errors in the Driscoll/Breshears team-up on a matter of scholarship would be the Targum Neofiti.  Yes, it's esoteric but scholars across the spectrum made a point of taking apart Driscoll's claims.  It's worth revisiting them before MH gets the idea to pull down that material, too.

Now, what I want to share with you now is super exciting to me ‘cause I’m a total – I’m kind of a geek. And I really like – I really like the Bible and I like learning things I did not know. And I learned something this week that I did not know. It comes from Dr. Gerry Breshears, who’s a dear friend of mine and my co-author on Vintage Jesus and some other books. He’s the head of theology at Western Seminary in Portland. And what he showed me was – he sent this to me, it’s called the Targum Neofiti. It’s from roughly 200 years before the birth of Jesus Christ.

Now, let me tell you what a targum is, okay? A targum was an accepted Jewish translation and reading of the Old Testament, okay? And the Jewish scholars would translate, read the Old Testament and they would write them down as accepted targums. Now this targum – again, think is through – is 200 years before the birth of Jesus, more than 200 years before the Christian church in its present form came into existence, 500 years before something we’ll get to call the Council of Nicea where the Christian theologians officially declared the doctrine of the Trinity as true orthodoxy. Hundreds of years prior, here is the Targum Neofiti.

Genesis 1:1-2, it declared, “In the beginning, by the Firstborn” – who’s that? That’s Jesus. That’s the same language we find in the New Testament. Paul says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and he is the firstborn – that’s preeminence. That’s prominence. That’s rulership over all creation. “In the beginning, by the Firstborn” – Jesus – “God” – that’s the Father – “created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” I can show that there were Jews who were waiting for the coming of Jesus Messiah who loved and studied the Bible – 200 years before the coming of Jesus interpreted Genesis 1, the opening line of the Bible, and Genesis 2 to be Trinitarian. That the Father through Jesus Christ, the preeminent firstborn Son, along with the Holy Spirit created everything. Trinitarian.

To all that the scholars Robert Cargill, Christian Brady, and Scott Bailey could be said to have replied "No", "No" and "Hell no" respective to their usual blogging tones. Brady, in particular, as an Aramaic targum scholar, has been in a good position to point out that Driscoll (and Breshears) claim the rabbinical commentary on Genesis was written in the second centure BCE when it is generally accepted as written in the second century CE.  I.e. 2 centuries BC is four centuries too early for something scholars agree was written in the 2nd century AD, for folks who are old school.  Driscoll opens out the gate misrepresenting (at best) or lying (at worst) when the commentary on Genesis was written. 

Brady closed his friendly post with:

Feel free to offer other comments on the video. For the first time I have actually left comments on a YouTube video because I think this is so egregious. And for those who don’t know me as well and to be open and clear, I do believe in the Trinity, I just abhor bad sermons and errors.  [emphasis mine]

Brady's blogged some fun stuff besides this, particularly on the targum of Ruth and the question of why two guys were thought to have died for marrying Moabite women while the third one didn't.  :) 

So while the plagiarism/ghostwriting/citation error/historical error news cycle unfolds it's worth revisiting that foundationally wrong assertions about rabbinical commentaries presented as informed and competent happened way back in 2008. 

The capstone for the egregious scholarly imcompetence was arguably not simply that it happened in 2008 and got cemented into Mars Hill Church's Doctrine series for new members.  It went further, when Mark Driscoll explained to Justin Taylor in an interview that the Doctrine series raised the bar on what was expected of members and that a lot of people weren't up to the task.—and-whether-or-not-the-new-calvinist-coalition-will-hold-together/

Like all of my writing, this project was born out of my work as one of the elders at Mars Hill. We have enjoyed an ocean of God’s grace at our church. As we expand to more campuses, states, and possibly even nations, I wanted to do all I could to ensure doctrinal fidelity and clarity for our church. As the tree grows and the fruit increases, the roots need to sink deep as well. So, when our attendance was at about six thousand people a few years ago, we did something unprecedented. We canceled out the membership of everyone in our church and I preached the Doctrine series for thirteen weeks. Each sermon was well over an hour and included me answering text-messaged questions from our people.

Those who made it through the entire series were interviewed, and those who evidenced true faith in Christ and signed our membership covenant were installed as new members. We had always had a high bar for membership, but I wanted to raise that bar higher as we pursued our goal of becoming, by God’s grace, a church of fifty thousand. [emphasis added] In so doing, we lost about a thousand people, dropped to five thousand total, and missed budget for the first time in our church’s history. We then rebounded over the next few years to ten thousand people a week and as many as thirteen thousand on our peak weekend. We had pruned, which hurt, but then we harvested, which was healing. It’s not all about the numbers, and we were willing to lose a lot of people, but God proved that there is power in the gospel and that a people united around core biblical doctrine can be used by God to bear much fruit by grace. We now use the book and its small group questions as our membership process for Mars Hill.


This book was by far the most work of any project I have done. I actually suffered an intestinal ulcer nearing the end. The book was originally 700 pages, and I whittled it down to the present 464. Dr. Breshears and I poured ourselves out on this one, and without Crystal Griffin, my copyeditor, there is no way we would have made it to the finish line, as the perhaps thousand footnotes alone would have done us in.

I wrote this book while fathering five kids, pastoring Mars Hill, pursuing my wife, leading Acts 29, growing The Resurgence, traveling, doing media, and so forth. So, it was written in large part late at night, at Little League games, and on airplanes. In many ways, I guess I did my writing much like the apostles did their epistles—on the run, doing ministry.

Nevertheless, it was an amazing help to force me to clarify exactly where I’m landing on doctrinal issues and how to articulate them. For me, the entire project is a worship act for which I praise God. It is an incredible honor to be able to serve others by writing this book and I am very, very, very pleased with it. Doctrine is easily my/our best work to date.

The devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. 


While we're at it, James Duncan has addressed several aspects of the Driscollian authorship, citation, and reputation  here and here.