The Mark Driscoll Plagiarism Thing Continues: Mars Hill Admits 'Errors'

What started as a pretty low-key tussle has turned into one of this year's biggest controversies in the American Christian community. For those just catching up, Mars Hill Pastor Mark Driscoll was accused of plagiarism by syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd, who backed up her claim with photocopied documents of some of Driscoll's work side-by-side with some suspiciously similar source material.

This set off a round of further accusations that seemed to have Pastor Driscoll backed into a corner. And then, surprisingly, Mefferd pulled the accusations off her site and apologized, even as her part-time assistant producer resigned, citing "an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes." Christian publisher Tyndale defended Driscoll. Their colleagues at Intervarsity wanted some answers. And all the while, Driscoll himself said very little, and Mars Hill didn't say anything at all.

Well, that's not quite true. Patheos has discovered that there is a response, but it's buried deep in the Mars Hill website. A statement there admits to some "citation errors" which it blames on a research team, saying "during the editing process, content from other published sources were mistaken for research notes." The statement originally said that the work in question was a "study guide" which was "never sold." However, as Religion News Service points out, the book was sold on Amazon, and Mars Hill subsequently removed the statement from their site ...




Skevin commented…

I feel like this would all be a lot easier if the industry would own-up to the use of ghost-writers.



JesusIsGoingToBeMad! replied to Skevin's comment

Especially among pastors and Christian leaders! The "errors", dishonesty and cover-ups don't do anything to help their reputation and only cloud the message. But this case seems to be another one where money trumps honesty.

Greg Teegarden


Greg Teegarden replied to JesusIsGoingToBeMad!'s comment

To continue to try to cover-up sin only continues to shed light on serious character issues with Mark and his ministry. To everyone who is loyal to Mark, who want to protect Mark, to make excuse for Mark, or just refuse to believe Mark is only human and infallible. Christ not Mark, is the head of the church. To do anything other than to confess, whether it was ghost-writer issue, or a Tyndale issue or a Mark issue, or everyone involved issue, is to drag Christ through the gutter. - I will be extremely surprised if anyone involved will actually take responsibility. They will just wait until it goes away. But it will never go away in Christ's eyes... There is enough controversy around this issue that Mark should at-least address it because it has left a dark scar on Mark and his ministry.

Po Bear


Po Bear replied to Greg Teegarden's comment

What's the going rate for plagiarism in the courts these days?



JesusIsGoingToBeMad! commented…

A good overview - "The Ghostwriting Business"

Steven Richards


Steven Richards commented…

Two separate issues:
1. Ghostwriting: passing someone else's work off as your own through mutually agreed business terms
2. Plagiarism: passing someone else's work off as your own through failure to cite the work

Ian Alexander Adair Williams


Ian Alexander Adair Williams commented…

Do you guys not realize that the Apostle Paul himself used what you call "Ghost Writers," AKA, Scribes, with the authority to write AS Paul even if Paul wasn't present?

ALSO most of the bible doesn't cite references, esp. when you consider most of the gospels' authors "copied" the book of Mark and added their own thoughts and "experiences."

My, how society has changed.

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