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The Twittersphere lit up this past week with the revelation that Mark Driscoll's new book includes passages that bear a striking resemblance (though not quite word-for-word equivalence) to material from the book that is cited as their source. Further ...

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William Goldman

February 22, 2014  7:31am

Thanks for the article!

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David Lloyd-Jones

January 10, 2014  6:12pm

What this article suggests is that idolatry is common, even when getting caught at plagiarism doesn't suddenly leave it open to comment. OK, let's have some commentary on idolatry even when it's there without any plagiarism being caught. Yet. -dlj.

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Art Ritter

December 24, 2013  3:31pm

... and as to Isaiah 1, 2, and 3, who are those guys?

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Topher Zodrow

December 21, 2013  5:41pm

Idolatry? Hardly. What is happening is an ordering of values by people who acknowledge the Triune God. Andy has — as many mistakenly do — identified values with God Himself. This is not an issue of pagans vs Christians, but of Christians who are working out their sanctification. If Driscoll has failed, or if his followers or detractors have been either saddened (legitimately) or gladdened (maybe legitimately) by his failings, it may be due to misplaced values, but not idolatry. Driscolll may have placed his values in making a name for himself, but this is is just misplaced ideals, not idolatry. The ease with which Andy accuses people of this is alarming. The irony is that perhaps Andy is committing the very thing he accuses others of by making Values into a god. Idolatry is a more subtle thing than ®branding, as heinous a thing that might be at times. For more on this, read Roy Clouser's book, Knowing with the Heart, pp. 18-19. Topher

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Andrew Nedelchev

December 21, 2013  5:20am

Thank you very much for a good article. I have been following your writing now for years and am glad you can still think outside of the status quo box.

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Steve Wilkinson

December 21, 2013  12:17am

While this article brings up a valid concern, I think the real problem is actually that Pastor Mark so thrives on the idolatry, that he doesn't care who gets 'run over by the bus,' and in fact, often does the driving for such hit & runs. Fake apologies, the Industrial Evangelical Complex pouncing on anyone who dare threaten the image of the stars... THAT is the *real problem* and it generally falls under integrity. And Pastor Mark isn't alone, nor hardly the worst offender. This plagiarism scandal (and BTW, it includes print books, still being sold, not just internal Bible studies) pales in comparison to the nearly decade long battle between Ergun Caner and those 'rogue bloggers' in what has become known as the Great Evangelical Cover-up. This one pulls in major seminaries, top Christian apologists like Norm Geisler, and huge numbers of Christian pastors and leaders who keep quiet or cover for Ergun. One would hope integrity would be more important to Christians than fame and mammon.

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Pauline Beange

December 19, 2013  10:42am

Both problematic aspects of Driscoll's work are more than troubling and both indicate loss of integrity. The first is emptiness and claiming wisdom; the second is outright plagiarism which is theft of another's work; the third is pretensions to 'contributing' while borrowing. Driscoll's work, as a pastor and author, must pass not only the world's standards of intellectual honesty and integrity but also those of Scripture. Disappointing, to say the least.

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Tammy Anderson

December 18, 2013  10:53pm

I saw Mark Driscoll in an interview recently and was very impressed with his obvious passion for what he is doing and by the fact that he did not seem to be too full of himself. Listening to him made me want to check out his books and in fact I bought one that same day. I have not had the pleasure of hearing him speak in person, but he helped bring a good friend of mine back from the edge to return to his walk with God. This friend was a local "Rock Star" pastor who had a meteoric rise in a church he and his wife had planted, and as his popularity grew so did his ego, to the point where he felt somewhat invincible, made poor choices and was removed as pastor of the church. Pastor Driscoll's counseling of my friend and his wife probably helped saved their marriage and definitely brought him back to a relationship with God. I would be willing to bet Pastor Driscoll has seen things like this happen innumerable times and thus is very familiar with the dangers of fame and inflated ego.

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Tammy Anderson

December 18, 2013  10:29pm

All of the viewpoints in this article are valid and worth pondering, but I feel there is another perspective to consider. As mentioned, books by well known authors sell better which can speak to greed; however, there is also the notion that the book will be read by more people if they recognize the author. After all, the purpose of the material is to reach the "unchurched," not those who are already familiar with points that may have been covered by other authors. That also is a good reason for quoting prior writings - so that those who have not read all of the books that came before can get the message by another vehicle.

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Donna Carlaw

December 17, 2013  11:11am

This whole controversy bothered me so much I finally purchased the two books, A Call to Resurgence and Gospel Truth, Pagan Lies. They are both good reads. The plagiarism accusation is false, IMO. Credit is given to Dr. Jones. Resurgence is carefully footnoted. Credit to those who helped in the writing of the book is given. I agree with Andy Crouch on the Trial example. Good article. There is a need to avoid idolizing any teacher. I would add that we need to look into issues for ourselves. 1 Tim. 5:19 is also in play, here. There are witnesses and there are false witnesses. Thank you for being a good witness.

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et church

December 15, 2013  3:12pm

I agree with Bob McGann; this "could be" a teachable moment. Let us also not forget "famous" people do draw their followers CT's way.

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Byron Borger

December 14, 2013  11:09pm

Thanks, Andy. This at once shows great grace, good insight, and-- wow -- the surprising ending, shows you are not letting Driscoll (or others) off the hook, but naming something far more troubling going on. This is really, really good, well written and helpful. Kudos.

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james dauer

December 14, 2013  10:45pm

The self-serving and self-absorbed side of pastors comes out in the most embarrassing ways, It's about the cross and not your witty or theological interpretation of the cross. It's really embarrassing is all I can say.

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Jonathan Stansfield

December 14, 2013  2:52pm

It appears that the author is letting a famous off the hook for what in most every college and graduate school and seminary in the world would be called plagiarism and the author of said paper would in most schools be thrown out for academic dishonesty. We do no one any favors when we find excuses for our mistakes or for the mistakes of persons we respect in all other instances. When Jesus asks how we cared for "the least of these", we won't please our Lord by making shallow excuses for what we did and did not do. Plagiarism is always wrong, in every instance. It is fraud to claim another's work as our own by not citing it appropriatly.

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PROF IRVING HEXHAM

December 14, 2013  9:42am

The problem with this and similar articles that appear when some prominent writer is accused of plagiarism is that on one ever defines the term or says why it is wrong. Essentially the problem is one of context and the claim made by the author. Therefore, not all borrowing, even unacknowledged, is wrong. But, in academic and similar contexts where the author is claiming authority based on their expertise then it is wrong and far worse than most people want to admit. The definition of plagiarism and related issues is discussed at: http://people.ucalgary.ca/~hexham/content/courses/courses.htm Pla giarism specifically at: http://people.ucalgary.ca/~hexham/content/articles/plague-of-plagiar ism.html

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Bob McGann

December 14, 2013  7:45am

The "Real Problem" with our caste of Rock Star pastors is the lack of accountability. The old sin nature is alive in each of us! The right person must play the role of David's Nathan, "You are the man," and Peter's Paul, "I opposed him to his face." As executive editor of Christianity Today, Andy Crouch is uniquely positioned to play this role. By saying it is our fault/idolatry and comparing Mark Driscoll's the collaborative team to the Godhead collaborating in creation, Andy Crouch abdicates his responsibility. By saying Mark is busy or his research assistants were sloppy, the Editor of Christianity Today enables him and sets the stage for a greater lapse. I have been blessed and edified by Mark's preaching and writing, but, in this case, my brother has failed. He needs to pause, regroup and speak to the issue. This could be a teachable moment for every communicator of God's Word. Hey Mark, "finish the race."

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Stanley Baldwin

December 14, 2013  4:31am

Superb article. Thanks for showing the proper spirit both in your refusal to demonize Mark Driscoll and in pointing out areas of concern. And kudos to IVP for their measured response. (Like you, I am an IVP author and I have found them to be of highest integrity and authenticity.)

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Jeri Bidinger

December 14, 2013  1:36am

Idolatry, yes, and that could have been said much earlier in the piece. Idolatry is a community wide sin. Yes, leaders are called to humility, but the rest of us are also accountable. Pride, perhaps. And greed. Yes, greed is perhaps at the heart. Books by well-known people sell better. Publishers know this. So do "big names" and their organizations. So accountability for such things belongs to all of us, doesn't it?

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Ben Wilson

December 13, 2013  5:30pm

I'm equally dismayed when a pastor takes a pre-canned sermon, changes a few details, then preaches it from the heart.

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Ben Wilson

December 13, 2013  5:28pm

I'm a little dismayed by the comments I'm reading. Does every non-fiction book need to cite to other works? Depends. It depends on whether the book is held out to be a scholarly work. It also depends on whether how the material is used. There's a legal issue here. If an author takes material from another author without attribution or permission, then it is a violation of copyright. It opens an author to being sued. I submit that an author, especially one who holds himself out as Christian, should not open himself to litigation. Colin Burch, above, found an article which is pretty spot on. But I will go one step further. Why? Why re-cover a topic already covered. Good writing is good research: find the one thing not well discussed in another work and improve on the body of knowledge. When an author rips content in masse from another, they are not meaningfully adding content. They are padding their page count for profit. They are not seeking to embiggen our understanding.

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