Christianity Today has a received a statement from evangelical publisher Tyndale House (link added):
It has come to our attention that a radio talk show host has suggested that author Mark Driscoll has committed plagiarism in his recent Tyndale book, A Call to Resurgence. Tyndale House takes any accusation of plagiarism seriously and has therefore conducted a thorough in-house review of the original material and sources provided by the author. After this review we feel confident that the content in question has been properly cited in the printed book and conforms to market standards.
The book is not just a one-off; as Wartburg Watch notes, the volume represents the launch a whole new “Resurgence” imprint devoted to Driscoll and associated authors, with Driscoll promising “a ton of content”.
As is being widely reported, the radio host was Janet Mefferd, who has since apologised for raising the subject publicly in an interview with Driscoll and removed details from her site. This apology has in turn prompted an assistant producer on her show, Ingrid Schlueter, to resign in disgust. In comments posted to Julie Anne Smith’s Spiritual Sounding Board and captured by Warren Throckmorton before they were for some reason removed, Schlueter paints an unattractive picture of the wider context:
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 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…
Meanwhile, Jim West notes that Julie Anne has drawn attention to a business link between Tyndale House and Mefford’s broadcaster; according to Mefford’s website, “This site is a proud member of Salem National, a subsidiary of Salem Communications Corporation“; and according to a testimonial on the Salem website:
Salem Radio Network is one of Tyndale’s most valued and respected media partners. They have always provided us with custom advertising campaigns that deliver outstanding results. Their professionalism and expertise has brought us back year after year. We couldn’t be happier with the quality of service we’ve received from SRN.
~Tyndale House Publishers
It is reasonable to suppose that this business association may explain Mefferd’s reverse ferret.
However, this is not the only source of pressure on Mefferd: some of Driscoll’s previous books are published by Crossway, and Wartburg Watch observes that Crossway’s VP of Editorial Justin Taylor took to Twitter to warn that “I wouldn’t recommend authors go on @JanetMefferd’s show after she pulled this during an interview with @PastorMark”. What is this, if not the “machine” of which Schlueter writes?
Pastor Driscoll has always struck me as a controlling and somewhat sinister figure, so I’m not surprised that he appears to believe that he can use other people’s work unattributed and not expect to be challenged for it.
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