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’.
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.