Mark Driscoll is not an intentional plagairist

Mark Driscoll is many things to many people.

But he’s not an intentional plagiarist.

At least in my opinion.

Maybe you haven’t heard of all the uproar. (But I find it hard to believe it’s gotten past you).

Driscoll appeared a couple of weeks ago on nationally syndicated Christian talk show host Janet Mefford’s radio program to discuss his new book. But the discussion never got to the book.

Instead, Driscoll was first backed into a corner on his recent appearance at the John MacArthur Strange Fire conference.  Mefford tried to get Driscoll to admit that he lied about his books being confiscated.

Getting no traction there, she moved on to ask Driscoll how he could steal 14 pages of his new book from theologian Peter Jones.

Driscoll was obviously blindsided.

And even after he said that if he made a mistake, he would take steps to rectify it, Mefford didn’t let up, and eventually accused Driscoll of hanging up on her (which he didn’t… proving that with a recording from his end of the conversation with him saying ‘I’m still here’.

Here’s why:

1.  When most people plagiarize, the don’t steal from friends.

Driscoll and Peter Jones are friends (and so are Mefford and Jones). As Mark said, they’ve shared meals together.  Jones has spoken at Driscoll’s church, and written endorsements for Driscoll’s books.  I don’t think friends do this to friends, at least intentionally.

2.  When most people plagiarize, they don’t do it in a forum where they’ll be sure to be found out.

There are all kinds of safeguards in place here… supposedly.  Publishers don’t want to publish works that aren’t original, and authors don’t want to be discredited by putting out material that will be tagged as being copied.  Plagiarism mostly finds its place where people think they can get away with it… like spoofing a professor, or copycatting a sermon to a local church.  🙂  You know… places where the copied material will, chances are, never be found out.  This would be the equivalent of a pastor having a moral failure in plain view of everyone… shade up and lights on.

3.  To me, Driscoll was clearly taken aback by the accusation.  

As I listened to the recording, Driscoll actually sounded (to me) to be quite willing to make sure that this would not be an issue, offering to go to Peter Jones personally… and if need be, apologize to him and make changes with his publisher if need be.  What else can you do?

Listen.  I’m not here to make excuses for Mark Driscoll.  He’s a big boy.  I have no idea if he wrote what he wrote, how he wrote it, what his editing process was, etc.

And yes… I’ve seen the side-by-side comparisons (that I’m glad somebody has hours and hours of time on their hands to research).

But as I said… Mark Driscoll may be many things, but a serial (or intentional) plagiarist he is not. IMHO.

Whether you like him or despise him, Driscoll is brilliant.

And he loves Jesus.

And I trust him at his word… that behind the scenes he is making right whatever needs to be made right and will move on.

I try to always give the benefit of the doubt before jumping to a conclusion. I think there’s an extra measure of grace there that I want to be characterized by.  But the trend these days is to jump head-first.

As Mark Driscoll says, “There are three sides to every story.”

Or maybe that was Rick Warren.  Or Ghandi.  I forget.

Tomorrow, I hope to continue some thoughts here on a rising trend I’m seeing in Christianity these days:  how some Christian leaders are using traditional and social media to make their point and get their way.

What do YOU think?

Please leave a comment below…

Have a great day.




  • Stephen Canfield December 4, 2013 Reply

    Mark is getting ahead of himself with his book writing and church. He needs to slow down and be more responsible. His church has hit the tipping point and now he is trying to capitalize on the momentum and I’m sure he feels the pressure to perform and keep putting out substance. But when that happens, you are also tempted to take shortcuts, thinking in your head that the important thing is to get out the information to the audience, copyright be damned. But, this very thinking puts his movement in jeopardy, not because of his motives, but because our society values individual expression over communal success. So, even though he wants to help through his books, he is also doing it in the construct of the western society.

    Hang in there Mark, do some retractions if have to, and slow down to make sure you aren’t stepping out of bounds, even if you want to help people.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      Not a bad word of advice, Stephen. Yeah… Mark’s putting out a lot of stuff in the past months. And I’m sure the pressure is immense to keep it up.

      • John December 10, 2013 Reply

        Have you researched the plagarized content?
        I have. There are around 14 pages that MD word for word
        copied from PJs book.

        That’s intentional & speaks volume about MD.

        Were in a dangerous place where so called Christians are fooled
        by someone as blatant & obvious as MD.

      • John December 10, 2013 Reply

        Here’s another question?

        What would you think if you heard someone say ‘If I get to heaven & Jesus offers to go down on me were going to have a problem!’

        Yes you read that correctly. Your thoughts?

        • LWC December 16, 2013 Reply

          John – I am confused about your comment? Is that a quote from Driscoll?

  • December 4, 2013 Reply

    Two ideas spin to my mind.

    1). The Gotcha culture that tries to expose people. If this was a concern, this should have been handled between themselves.

    2). I can only assume that the editing process failed. A book published by a publishing house should catch something like that long before it ever gets to print.

    At this point, I give Driscoll the benefit of the doubt. The integrity he has displayed for years makes me think that someone on the editing team failed and that steps will be taken to correct it.


    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      EXACTLY (on point #1)

      And you’re spot on on point #2 as well. There is enough blame to go around here. No author OR publisher wants allegations like this, ever.

      But it’s much easier to jump to a conclusion and beat people over the head.

      I have as high a ‘justice meter’ as most people. And I’ve found (am finding) that my rush for justice many times runs over people not only prematurely, but sometimes unintentionally. Being candid… it’s something I’m really trying to work on.


  • Dan December 4, 2013 Reply

    On too many days, Mark is his own worst enemy. I too, don’t think it was intentional, but in the academic world in which I live much of my time — intentional or unintentional…99% of the time it is a HUGE problem and can be a career killer. At the very least, his publisher and editor messed up. (About the only exceptions I can think to this is Doris Kearns Goodwin and Joe Biden — both of which got a pass when they were accused. Journalists and academics rarely get a second chance with plagiarism.)

    I also think that Mark is such a visionary/communicator and probably not particularly disciplined on details and other areas, he has now demonstrated a pattern of “excesses” that should inspire him to invite someone to coach him and hold him accountable on some of this stuff. From some of his over-the-top statements and illustrations, to the “Strange Fire” stunt (and let’s be honest…it WAS a stunt), to this accusation and others, he is simply lacking the discipline that a major leader must have in speech, conduct and demeanor. “Edgy” may have helped gain him acclaim and fame, but it won’t earn him long-term respect and influence. A little gravitas could go a long way, in my opinion.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      And I think if you’ve followed Mark at all over the past couple of years, I think he’s starting to ‘get’ that.


      • Dan December 4, 2013 Reply

        Apparently not.

        • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

          There are glimpses… he’s just like you and me… three steps forward, two steps back… 🙂

  • revdorris December 4, 2013 Reply

    The word of God cannot be copyrighted. Ministers all over the world use similar words and texts. If they copy whole pages from another minister that is wrong unless they give credit where credit is due. In writing from what is within your heart and mind at a given moment in time, what comes out is not plagiarism but the use of words that you have internalized and made your own. For many different phrases you might have to give and list a thousand different sources as your inspiration. If writing as a scholar that would be OK, but then people would not read the material for they would see it as just a another source book — without original thought. There is nothing new under the sun but the context of our phrases is always changing.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      Yes… this is an interesting subject, huh?

      True what you say RevDorris… however there are certain copyright laws that need to be adhered to.

      Copyright is funny in the evangelical world.

      More liberal denominations take, for example, preaching other people’s sermons as grounds for immediate dismissal.

      And in academia, there is zero tolerance.

      But some evangelical pastors openly encourage you to use their things.

      Some will slap a cease and desist order on your butt if/when you do.

      I’m not making excuses. Nor am I coming down on the other side.

      I always try to see what the real issue really is.

      And here… I’m not so sure this is as much a plagiarism issue as it is a Mark Driscoll issue. But I could be wrong.

      Personally, it’s probably a little bit of both.


      • revdorris December 6, 2013 Reply

        I see it as a lot of jealousy, greed, and egotistical thinking. The goal is to serve God by sharing his truths. NO one person, denomination, or religion has an exclusive on God’s word.

        Everyone who has posted a response on this subject could be cited for plagiarism for using phrases without giving their original source but then our language is very limited and we must use common phrases and stories.

        The Bible itself is a work of copying from earlier sources without giving credit to those original sources. (Just my opinion.)

        Each denomination has its own copyrighted version of The Bible and threatens to take action to stop you from using more than a given number of verses without their permission. Then, there are versions in the public domain that are almost word for word the same.

        Some Bibles are not even worthy of being called “Bibles” but should be titled as “Commentaries” for they differ from the original to such an extent that the original meanings are changed. (This last statement is a paraphrase from a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Book that I read many years ago. Just thought I would throw in a citation.)

        Every few years this topic raises its head and a big out cry is launched against successful preachers, teachers, writers, and rabbis. It serves only to discredit the churches, synagogues, and temples in the eyes of those who are seeking guidance and aid. It drives these people away from the Churches and away from a path that would draw them closer to God.

        I don’t know Mark Driscoll but I would wish him success if he is attempting to serve God, as he understands God to be, to the best of his ability. After all we have two great commandments to follow: To love and serve God and to love and serve humanity. All the name calling and accusations does neither.

  • It Ain't Over December 4, 2013 Reply

    “More allegations of plagiarism surface against Mark Driscoll”

    Jonathan Merrit – Religion News Service

    Syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd sent shockwaves throughout social media when she accused megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism in a heated on-air exchange last week.

    In the last two days, however, Mefferd has turned up the heat with additional allegations. On Tuesday, she posted photocopied evidence that Driscoll borrowed material — this time, word for word — in another of his books, “Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1&2 Peter“. As Mefferd’s evidence demonstrates, Driscoll published several sections from D.A. Carson’s “New Bible Commentary” without proper citation.

    Mefferd struck again on Wednesday, providing two additional allegations of plagiarism— both taken word-for-word from Carson’s “New Bible Commentary“ and published in Driscoll’s book on 1&2 Peter. Carson has said that preachers who plagiarize are “stealing” and “deceiving.” Requests for a comment sent to the office of D.A. Carson were not immediately returned.

    Last week, Mefferd claimed Driscoll plagiarized Dr. Peter Jones for at least 14 pages in his book, “A Call to Resurgence“. She has since released documentation in an effort to support these claims.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      Yes… I’ll discuss this a little more (hopefully) in a post tomorrow.

      This is where I don’t understand Janet’s perspective. She’s made her point. Now it’s a matter or rubbing his face in it.

      He said that he would contact the person directly AND work with his publisher if anything needed to be changed.

      Driscoll has to be accountable to Jesus, this family, his church body, his elders, his publisher, etc. Janet, as a talk show host with a large audience, at the very least should take her added evident to Driscoll personally, and in this case, his publisher. I’m not sure what good she’s attempting to accomplish by posting all of this publically. I can only suspect (which isn’t good).

      Here’s my guess:

      She’s enraged about the justice of this issue. How could Driscoll do this, afterall? And she’s wanting to make it right… even if it means taking this one publically (which will only humiliate Driscoll and embolden her audience).

      More tomorrow…


      • RA Moody December 4, 2013 Reply

        Or… it’s just normal trash journalism… “a plane crash attracts a crowd.
        Safe landings never do”.
        Whether Driscoll did it intentionally or not, Mefferd is doing more damage to her own creditability with this.
        If I want to see/hear this type of journalism, I will watch network and cable news!
        People outside are looking in saying, “if they do this to their own… why would I want to be a part of it?”

  • Dave December 4, 2013 Reply

    So glad you brought this out. If Janet Mefferd is as “Christ-centered” as the Google notes seem to indicate, then surely she spoke with Mark ahead of time and tried to address this issue privately, right? Surely she would not ambush a brother in such a sensational and dramatic manner without giving him an opportunity to handle it “in private” as in Matthew 18. In reality, that conversation should have taken place between Driscoll and Jones.

    Is Janet going for ratings? Is she unaware of Biblical passages that address how to handle a repentant sinner? Is this more personal for her than we know?

    Something does not line up.

    Mark should go to Peter Jones and D.A. Carson, and anybody else that he needs to IN PRIVATE. Janet Mefferd needs to let Mark do his diligence and acknowledge that she has more than done her part.

    If so called Christian radio hosts start using these kinds of tactics, they are no better than their secular counterparts and can easily become part of the problem.

    INMO, the lack of civility and grace that is so pervasive in our culture should find no place in the body of Christ! How this is being handled does not bring honor to Christ any more than the alleged plagiarism.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply


      I’ve heard two sources of rationale, I believe from Janet, on her reasonings:

      1. The book is public, so this is a public issue. Matthew 18 really doesn’t apply to the one-on-one thing in this case; and

      2. They told Mark’s ‘people’ that she would be asking some tough questions. So in her mind, she gave him a ‘heads up’.

      Would a private, “Hey Mark… I noticed this… what’s your response” achieved the same purpose? I don’t know.

      Would it have been a better way to do it? Probably.


    • davepatchin December 4, 2013 Reply

      Not a big Driscoll fan for some of his “stunts,” but with you Todd, I don’t think he intentionally plagarized. If he did, he’s got much larger issues to work out with his church.

      I am deeply troubled by Mefferd’s ambush. Mark should be challenged on this, but the manner that this was done was designed to do EXACTLY what it has done: sensationalize the accusation and garner notoriety for her show. I’d never heard of her before this.

      Regardless of her reasoning (public issue, warned him) this is not how a believer treats a brother or sister in Christ. This is how one treats those they have great disdain for, or those they hate. As Christ followers, neither of those options is morally acceptable.

  • Reformed Berean December 4, 2013 Reply

    I apologize to break up the Driscoll lovefest going on here but some matters are being conveniently left out:

    1. This was not Driscoll’s first or even second book. He is well aware of what plagiarism is and how to not commit it. Mars Hill Church has even produced an FAQ about using their content:

    “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.”

    Why isnt Driscoll following his own Church’s guidelines when he is writing especially given his claims:

    “I don’t pretend to be the world’s greatest writer. But I did start writing professionally as a journalist in high school, paid my way through high school and college writing articles and editing my college newspaper, got a bachelor’s degree in Communications from the top-notch Edward R. Murrow School of Communication, and have written blogs and articles for everyone from CNN to the Washington Post to Fox News.”

    More can be found here:

    Again, Driscoll is not some amateur writer. He is well versed in what plagiarism is and is not.

    2. There was evidence of more than one instance of Driscoll plagiarism. This shows a pattern, not a one time happening.

    3. Driscoll has not come out publicly since these multiple claims have been made to address the charges. Yes, he did say IF he made a mistake, he would address it when Mefferd pressed him on it but since then he has been silent. This is a big issue of credibility.

    4. Ironically, Driscoll’s immature actions and subsequent lying about his visit to the Strange Fire conference was going on when he was holding an Act Like Men Conference.

    5. People want to focus on Mefferd actions but they overlook, Driscoll’s immediate defensiveness and ad hominem attacks on Mefferd which were out of line for him especially when addressing a woman. You know the weaker sex he preaches that men should treat with respect. He also went strangely into third person when referring to himself.

    6. Keep in mind that Todd Rhoades works for the Leadership Network who currently recommends Driscoll’s books on their website. He and Leadership Network has a vested and economic interest in being Driscoll apologists and defenders in this matter. There is future money at stake. Just as when Tyndale House declared that Driscoll’s book and notation met “industry standards”. I guess Biblical standards would have been too much to ask. Todd has no problem railing about John MacArthur and refusing to give him any benefit of the doubt but somehow Todd knows that Driscoll couldnt have done this intentionally.

    In the end, Rhoades is just another star struck evangelical celebrity fanboy who will be an apologist for anyone he sees can be a source of income so his salary at Leadership Network can be funded.

    • davepatchin December 4, 2013 Reply

      You take Driscoll to task. Congrats.

      You mentioned, “Driscoll’s immediate defensiveness and ad hominem attacks on Mefferd” in a context that shows you disapprove. Then you end your post with this about the blog host: “Rhoades is just another star struck evangelical celebrity fanboy who will be an apologist for anyone he sees can be a source of income.”

      My question for “Reformed Berean” is this; Is ad hominem okay for you but not for Driscoll, or is it immoral for both you and Driscoll?

      Do you know how Todd derives his income and the financial arrangements between Driscoll and LN, if any? If not, this looks a lot like a lie told to justify a position.”

      I’m ashamed to be associated with some who bear the name “reformed.”

      • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

        And great point, Dave. As the one person who knows where my income comes from, Berean definitely told a lie to justify a position. Or, if not a lie, jumped to a very large conclusion while knowing zero percent of the facts. But that’s ok.

        • Reformed Berean December 4, 2013 Reply

          OK, so..are you not employed by Leadership Network? Do you draw a salary from them?

      • Reformed Berean December 4, 2013 Reply

        You seem to have little issue with Rhoades taking Mefferd to task here and questioning her motives but somehow take issue with me questioning Rhoades’ inherent conflict of interest in this matter.

        It is relevant to point out Rhoades history of calling some leaders out and not giving them any benefit of the doubt while asking that we give the same benefit of doubt to the leaders that he happens to like and agree with.

        Leadership Network sells a product to churches and therefore derives part of their income stream direct from churches. It is not good “business” to have one of their employees, Mr Rhoades, to make disparaging remarks about Driscoll whose books they recommend on their website.

        Therefore, Rhoades has a vested interest in defending and apologizing for Driscoll’s actions by making implausible statements that this plagiarism was unintentional in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

        As I am ashamed to be associated with Christians that continue to excuse YEARS of Driscoll’s shameful behavior and continue to apologize for his actions.

        • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

          If you read everything I’ve written in this post, I believe that you’ll see I’ve been very transparent, and very graceful to both Janet AND Mark.

          I’ve been very careful not to ascribe blame, motive, or guilt.

          On MacArthur, I respect John MacArthur. I don’t agree with him on many things (don’t with Driscoll either).

          Here’s the line for me. I try to be graceful with everyone. Sometimes I’m snarky… but never try to be mean.

          Although I’ll admit, sarcasm and snarkiness doesn’t play well with some (and I’ll assume you’re one of them, Berean). I’ve been made well aware of this fact in the past month. 🙂

          I think it’s totally fine to disagree, and to do so online.

          But I think it’s unacceptable to ambush someone about what you perceive to be a sin in their life publically while having a public conversation that was supposed to be about something else.

          And I would say the same if the conversation was with John MacArthur.

          With that… I’m done engaging with you, Berean… only because it will lead nowhere. You’ve already made up your mind about me, and I’m not going to change it.

          And that’s fine. 🙂

          Thanks for being a guest here, in my forum.


        • davepatchin December 4, 2013 Reply

          Mr. “Berean,”

          I expressed discomfort with both Mr. Driscoll’s actions, past and present, as well as Ms. Mefferd’s tactics. I am giving nobody a pass.

          That said, you utterly ignored my questions in your response. Here they are again:
          1) Is it okay for Driscoll to use ad homenim because you do it too, or are both of you needing to apologize to others publicly?

          2) Do you know the FACTS of Mr. Rhodes compensation and what, if any, income LN derives from the sale of any Driscoll books? If not, you have presumed badly and owe the man who gives you a place to spout off an apology.

          You wish others to be accountable for their behavior, will you be accountable for yours?


          • Reformed Berean December 4, 2013

            My comments about Rhoades bias are not ad hominem because they are at the core of why he has come riding his horse in to make a post expicitly defending Driscoll by somehow claiming that Driscoll’s proven plagiarism was unintentional. Rhoades has ZERO way to know this but yet it doesnt stop him from posting this today. So one must ask why he is doing so.

            It looks bad on LN to recommend books on its website that are written by those that plagiarize and that in turn can affect their business. I never said that LN gets any kind of income from the sale of Driscoll’s books.

            Rhoades is listed as an employee on LN’s website. He draws a salary from them unless he is somehow now just volunteering his time to them. LN derives some of its funding through churches and selling products to them. It is in LN’s best interest to have a shill defend and act as an apologist for Driscoll. There is future business to be considered after all…

          • davepatchin December 4, 2013


            I responded here because the software does not allow more replies in the previous thread.

            You said, “My comments about Rhoades bias are not ad hominem .” In an earlier post you said, “Rhoades is just another star struck evangelical celebrity fanboy.”

            To be clear, you don’t think calling Todd Rhodes those names is ad homenim?

            As to the second issue, while you have not admitted it outright, it is now clear that you do not know how Mr. Rhodes derives his income. As well, you’ve shifted from LN getting INCOME from Mr. Driscoll’s book sales to the new statement where it “looks bad” for LN if they recommend one who plagiarizes.

            Care to admit that you don’t know if Mr. Rhodes has any significant financial stake in Mr. Driscoll’s guilt or innocence?


          • Dave December 4, 2013

            Maybe LN is not quick to jump to conclusions but waits for the outcome. Regardless of the outcome, there is much in Discoll’s books that is beneficial. Like many other books I have read there are statements that I embrace and statements that I do not embrace. I don’t throw the whole book out because I don’t like something that is written. To reject anyone on the basis of one issue does not fit with the way I see Jesus treating people during his time on this planet. I heard somewhere that we are to be like Jesus.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      “In the end, Rhoades is just another star struck evangelical celebrity fanboy who will be an apologist for anyone he sees can be a source of income so his salary at Leadership Network can be funded.”

      Love you too, Berean. (what a pretty first name, btw.)

      You’ve got to be more creative. Last month, I was called a ‘fat faced gossip monger’. You’ve got to do better than ‘star struck evangelical celebrity fanboy’. Come on, man… use your imagination.



    • Dave December 4, 2013 Reply

      Is this an advertisement?

      • Dave December 4, 2013 Reply

        This comment was for the lengthy Reformed Berean comment.

  • Reformed Berean December 4, 2013 Reply

    In the latest development. Mefferd has just apologized for her treatment of Driscoll on her radio show and for making these charges public.

    I will hold my breath waiting for Driscoll’s apology for his plagiarism and his treatment and bullying of Mefferd on her radio show

  • Fred December 4, 2013 Reply

    Nothing he could say or do would be a surprise to me.

    • Dave December 4, 2013 Reply

      Nice? Not!

  • Norm Yukers December 4, 2013 Reply

    Todd, thanks for posting topics that bring on discussion and debate. If everyone agreed that would be boring to many. Reformed made a couple of good points until the name calling started so lost all credibility. sounded like a politician backed into a corner and resulted to name calling because his opinion was un supportable.

    • Todd Rhoades December 4, 2013 Reply

      And thanks for reading Norm. I appreciate that.

      And I agree… the world would be a boring place if we all agreed all the time.

      I love learning from people I disagree with. Usually.



  • Peter D December 4, 2013 Reply

    This whole thing is disconcerting. I like Janet Mefford, I like Driscoll. Where is the biblical model for confrontation? IT appears to have been either overlooked or completely ignored. Why is Mefford, someone who is supposed to be Christ Centered dragging Driscoll through the mud? I think I will have to put on hold listening to her until she herself comes clean, as Driscoll attempted to do on her radio program.

  • Fred December 5, 2013 Reply

    Now it seems he has been accused of plagiarizing in two books. The image I saw showed about six sentences with only one word changed.

  • Andy December 6, 2013 Reply

    A few comments from the producer who resigned from Mefferd’s show:

    I was a part-time, topic producer for Janet Mefferd until yesterday when I resigned over this situation. All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.


    I’ve read much speculation online, which is understandable given the confusing situation, most of it dead wrong. Being limited in what I can share, let me just say that truth tellers face multiple pressure sources these days. I hosted a radio show for 23 years and know from experience how Big Publishing protects its celebrities. Anything but fawning adulation for those who come on your show (a gift of free air time for the author/publisher by the way) is not taken well. Like Dr. Carl Trueman so aptly asked yesterday in his column at Reformation 21, does honest journalism have any role to play in evangelicalism now? (It was rhetorical.) My own take on that question is, no, it does not. The moment hard questions are asked, the negative focus goes on the questioner, not the celebrity, when there is something that needs scrutiny. Those who have the temerity to call out a celebrity have tremendous courage. The easiest thing in the world is to do fluffy interviews with fluffy guests on fluffy books. So hats off to those like Janet who have the courage to ask at all. And my own opinion on Mr. Driscoll is that despite the bravado, despite the near silence of his Reformed peers and enablers, his brand is damaged, and damaged by his own hand.

    • Todd Rhoades December 9, 2013 Reply

      I’m glad to hear that Ingrid is doing well, and that she’s staying out of trouble.



  • sayitwell December 9, 2013 Reply

    Janet is a modern day voice crying in the wilderness over the commercial tatics many leaders use to make money. Todd, I agree with Bearan, you’re very bias in your attack on some church leaders… the content of this article seems as though you’re giving Driscoll a pass…

    • Todd Rhoades December 9, 2013 Reply

      Janet may be a modern day voice crying in the wilderness, but she is a part of the commercial tactics machine as well.

      Janet works for a for-profit, publically traded media company.

      Janet interviews authors promoting their books (and their publishers) just about every day on her show. Remember, John MacArthur’s new book “Strange Fire” is actually a Thomas Nelson publication. (again, part of that ‘machine’ of which you talk).

      And believe it or not… John makes a good chunk of change from his book royalties, just like Driscoll or any other author.

      (Nobody is giving away their books for free… which, actually would be REALLY easy to do on the internet… just ask Seth Godin).

      Janet has sponsors and advertisers on her show. They pay her salary and the salaries of her staff.

      And if Janet doesn’t have good ratings, she’ll be replaced by Joel Osteen sermon reruns.

      That’s how the machine works.

      But you can’t judge someone of being a part of the horrible machine when the accuser also profits and/or operates in the same machine under the same rules.

      Without the machine, Janet has nothing to talk about. No authors to interview. No audience. And no employer.

      We all have our rock stars.

      In some camps of Christianity, it’s Benny Hinn or Joel Osteen.

      For others, it’s Mark Driscoll and John Piper.

      For others it’s John Piper and John MacArthur. (see what I did there?)

      For some it’s Janet Mefferd.

      But it’s dangerous to call parts of the kettle black when our own fingers are dripping with black ooze from our own rock stars.

      My own 2 cents.


      BTW… I think if you read the whole post and my comments that I have not given a pass to anyone on this story. 🙂

      • Reformed Berean December 9, 2013 Reply

        Inter Varsity Press (IVP) has concluded that Driscoll did commit plagiarism in his book Trial: 8 Witnesses From 1 & 2 Peter.

        of course, none of this matters to Todd since he somehow can discern that Driscoll was not “intentional” in multiple instances. Where I come from, this is a pattern not evidence of someone who “unintentionally” committed plagiarism especially with Driscol’s claim of expertise within the journalism & publishing world.

        And dont let Todd fool you, he is an ingrained cog of that same “machine” who derives his means of living from a company that has a vested interest in seeing the Driscolls of the evangelical world thrive.

        Otherwise, they would be killing the goose that laid the golden egg and Todd would actually have to do actual ministry in helping tend the flock instead of being part of a machine that fleeces them.

        • Todd Rhoades December 9, 2013 Reply


          You really get me, Berean. It’s almost like you’ve been reading my mail. (Have you?)

          I’d take more time to respond to your absolutely ‘spot-on’ description of me and my motives, but, as I always say… there are so many people to fleece and not enough time… so I must move on.

          I’ve got kids to feed. Please buy Mark Driscoll’s new book. I’ll post a link where you can all purchase it for 20% over retail. (Now that’s a sweet deal).

          I’ll even sign Mark’s name on it for you if you like.


          • Reformed Berean December 9, 2013

            Ah..the tried and true tactic of sarcasm and hyperbole when you have nothing of substance left to say.

            I noticed that you decline to address the issue of IVP and their findings of plagiarism. Very telling and convenient of you.

            You cling to your tenuous and now indefensible initial claims in the light of irrefutable evidence.

            How very sad…

        • Peter D. December 9, 2013 Reply

          I am kind of disgusted with this thread. The bottom line is that the heart of man is exceedingly wicked. That means me, that means Reformed Berean, Todd, Driscoll and Mefford. We ALL have the desire to be the center of attention. What we all have in addition to this is a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In that, we hope to increase our desire to be new creations, desiring that Christ would increase and that we would decrease. It’s not an easy job. Christianity in America has become, in large part (very large) a disgrace to the name of Jesus. The good news is that God forgives and never holds it against us. It’s time to stop the hyperbole, the sarcasm, the judgment and the foolishness that has come out of this thread. Todd, it would have been better for you to have said nothing in response to baseless accusations. Reformed, it would have been better for you to have said nothing, since, you don’t actually know Todd or his motives. As Charlie Brown would often say “GOOD GRIEF!!” or “UGH!!”

          • Dave December 10, 2013

            When I am done with something, I simply stop responding to it. It usually dies a quick death shortly thereafter. Let it end. And Todd, some comments do not deserve the dignity of a response. Thank you for what you do. If it is not a real job, why do you end up doing it for so many hours each week? ;o-)

  • Todd Rhoades December 9, 2013 Reply

    I’ll start a new thread here, Berean… just to make it more readable.

    Actually the sarcasm and hyperbole are me being nice.

    If you want to engage me and have a conversation, don’t start by telling me to go get a job where I actually have to go and minister to people rather than fleecing them of all their money.

    You see… you have little understanding of me, yet you have jumped to conclusions about me. Then you posted on MY forum just how horrible you think I am.

    And then you chastise me for not responding to you?

    Give me a break.


  • mrswebfoot December 14, 2013 Reply

    Thank you for your excellent blog post. I just found it. I’m not sure how to say this, so I’ll make my statement point by point. Please forgive any mistakes in logic, spelling, grammar, or whatever.

    1. The subject that both Mark Driscoll and Dr. Peter Jones brings up is probably the most important one facing Christians in our day. Paganism began invading our culture in a big way during the 60s. Both of these authors address the state of our culture as it relates to the invasion of paganism.

    2. Both books point out how Christians are largely unaware of what is happening around us. We live in our own little Christian ghettos, so to speak, and are unable to communicate effectively to those outside that context.

    3. I purchased the e book version of both A Call to Resurgence written by Driscoll and Gospel Truth, Pagan Lies so I could compare the pages in question.

    4. So far, I have seen no evidence of plagiarism. What I have seen in Resurgence is a book written with carefully placed footnotes, giving credit where credit is due. In fact, Tyndale took Driscoll’s side in the controversy, which made the Driscoll detractors very angry. Their attacks then turned towards Tyndale and the whole alleged “evangelical industrial complex.”. Red herring? This accusation was made by Janet Mefferd’s assistant producer , who had just resigned from the show over the controversy. It was a distraction from the main problem that I see. That is, a talk radio host played “gotcha'” journalism with Mark Driscoll, and she lost.

    5. What I have seen in the Dr. Jones book is a total lack of footnotes. He gives no credit to anyone for any of his ideas about One-ism and Twoism. In fact, he even says, “I call today’s paganism monism.” If I wanted to criticize him – which is not my intention – then I could say that the man thinks he invented the word “monism.” See how easy it is to smear a good man?

    6. On the other hand, Driscoll does credit Dr. Jones for his work on Oneism vs. Twoism. Driscoll’s book is carefully documented. Dr. Jones’ is sorely lacking in such. In fact, when this controversy broke out, and i took a look at the material in question, I thought “this Dr. Jones talks a lot like Francis Schaffer, Os Guinness, and even Van Til” These ideas are not original with him. In fact, on his website he says, “Schaeffer’s analysis of his culture, and his expression of the Christian faith in a coherent system helped me to apply biblical understanding to all areas of life.”

    In his book, he does not make any reference to Schaeffer, yet his ideas are obviously still influenced by this man and other great Reformed apologists.

    Now, what is my point, and it may not be a very good one or one that is well made. Please excuse me for what I say if I am incorrect.

    Dr. Jones takes full credit for what he says, not giving any credit to his original sources. Mark Driscoll, on the other hand, carefully documents in his book the source of all his direct quotes and even states where he got some of his ideas.

    So, why would Janet Mefferd attack Driscoll and not call out Dr. Peter Jones? that is the real question, here. It is not the alleged plagiarism of Driscoll.

    What I take from this is that there is no such thing as Christian journalism. There is nothing about it in the Bible at all. There are Christians who are also journalists, but there is no such animal as Christian, or Christ-centerd journalism. By its very nature, journalism relies on rumor, innuendo, hidden sources, and, yes, even lies in order to do its work. Journalists are notorious for using the power of the pen to build up or to destroy.

    To my way of thinking, Janet Mefferd has used all of the above in this smear campaign – which is what it is.

    Now, Pastor Mark has lots of issues. He freely admits many of his own failings – like his anger, his past sins, his present tendency to sin, his pride and so forth. In addition, I have a gerneral problem with a ministry that is so centered on one man’s preaching, but there are many ministries that are.

    Even fine teachers like John MacArthur with his Grace Church Grace to You is a one man show to a certain degree.

    Personally, I am wary of the whole video stream “thing” being sent out to all the Mars Hill church plants. That is a little freaky to me. IMO, it would be much better to plant a church, and then have a local pastor do the Sunday preaching.

    So my point, if I have made it, is that there may be legitimate concerns about Mark’s ministry. However, plagiarism is not one of his problems.

    My point is NOT that Dr. Jones is a plagiarist. If he has not done wrong, then Driscoll certainly is more than innocent of plagiarism in what he did.

    Pastor Mark has also been accused of using ghost writers and not giving credit to those who helped him write his books. That is odd, since this is what he says on the acknowledgement page of A Call to Resurgence:

    “I want to thank Dr. Justin Holcomb and the team at Docent Research Group for their help on parts of this project.”

    Looks like giving credit where credit is due to me. Besides, how could anyone possibly ghost write for Mark D. ? His style is unmistakable, and it is his style that dominates any and all of his writings.

    Now, there were some other irrelevant criticisms about mistakes made in some study guides that were published for Mars Hill church. to me, that does not even figure in. I am only interested in books that have been published and marketed to the public.

    Why dose this interest me? I guess that I think we Christians already look foolish enough to the world. At least let’s look foolish for the right things.

    Also, the extremely important message of Christianity vs. a pagan culture is being drowned out by some very foolish behavior on the part of “Christian journalism.”

    Get both books. Read them. Read Schaeffer and Os Guinness as well.

    They go to the heart of the problem – Christianity vs. paganism.

  • Paul Redding December 16, 2013 Reply


    • Dave December 26, 2013 Reply

      When I read the article from your link I found myself wondering if I was reading a blogger, a researcher, or another journalist/writer trying to get attention for his own new book in the only way he can.

      People like Pastor Warren, Pastor Driscoll, Pastor Stanley and others like them are not and have not claimed to be perfect – as far as I know. I have found each of them to be very approachable and open in person. In reading this article I get the impression that unknown, small and rural is somehow better. Then I remember that literally thousands of people have come to faith through mega preachers throughout church history. We used to call them revivals, movements of the Holy Spirit, etc.

      The same can be said of the small, rural and unknown pastors throughout the world. Thousands are in God’s family because of the combined efforts of every Christian person who shares the Good News regardless of the popularity or the size of their church.

      I say, let’s pray for pastors everywhere – vocation and unpaid. Let’s pray that they become more and more effective wherever they may be preaching the Gospel, so that more and more people get to be a part of God’s family forever!

      • Paul Redding December 30, 2013 Reply

        Great thoughts. has nothing at all to do with the subject at hand, but great.

        • Dave December 31, 2013 Reply

          If you do not see the connection between my comments and the link you posted, then I can only conclude that you are not open to hearing any other perspective beyond your own. For that reason, I am done with communication related to Mark Driscoll

          • Paul Redding January 1, 2014


  • Jimmy Doyle December 28, 2013 Reply

    Since you asked what our thoughts are, here are mine: I wonder what my profs at both undergrad and grad school would have thought about the “I didn’t do it intentionally” and “well, yeah, I copied…but I did it from a friend and he/she is okay with it” responses. I mean, come on. Weak.

  • Paul Redding January 1, 2014 Reply

    Nice little tweet from Driscoll where her calls Mefford a nobody. I’m sure that is what Jesus would do.

  • Stephen Canfield January 1, 2014 Reply

    Actually, Mark was referring to himself as a nobody in that statement. You kinda seem like a legalist Paul, I wouldn’t want to do ministry with you…which is probably what Dave was getting at.

    • Dave January 2, 2014 Reply

      Maybe no a legalist, but definitely contrarian and perhaps judgemental. (Am I being judgmental about his being judgmental?)

  • Paul Redding January 1, 2014 Reply

    Actually you are wrong on both counts.

    • Paul Redding January 1, 2014 Reply

      If he is the “nobody.” he is the most arrogant nobody I have ever heard of. The somebody he is telling everyone about must be him also, because self promotion is the only thing I ever hear from him.

  • Chris Baumgart January 3, 2014 Reply

    Mark Driscoll, John Piper, John Mcarthur and other Reformers, Calvinists, Emergents, do not teach to the heart of Christianity but keep to the outside and spend little or no time teaching Holiness. All look to death as THE cleansing one will need to be as Christ, which is contrary to the Word of God. Reading through their teachings “their disciples” will remain in sin, always in a subtle bondage to things they feel they have no power to overcome. The Scriptures teach us that through Christ we have this power through faith to be sanctified in this life. Any teaching short of this misleads many. Without faith one cannot accept Gods gift of Grace. Without faith one cannot abide in Christ’s obedience. Without faith in Him, one cannot walk in benevolence. Again many in today’s Christian Church are waiting for death to “make them holy” not Jesus. There will be a lot of books that won’t escape The Fire.

  • Steve Miller January 10, 2014 Reply

    John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    I think the real story is to ask why so many Christians are so quick to discard Jesus’ teachings to show love for one another. This seems to be almost completely forgotten as some journalists and bloggers are quick to point fingers and assign blame to a brother in Christ.

    1 Corinthians 13:7, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”

    In our demonstration of love to one another and in our desire to hope in all things, I believe there is room to give fellow blood bought believers the benefit of the doubt. We should not be quick to fill in unknown motives with the worse intentions. If there is a possible benign solution we should look for that. Where there is an angry mob with torches and pitchforks we should not be found amongst their numbers, and we definitely should not be the organizers of such witch hunts.

    Those are my thoughts, but so I am also not accused of plagiarism I will admit they did not originate with me; I borrowed heavily from the works of another Author who wrote a book called the Bible.

  • Paul Redding January 16, 2014 Reply


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