Tyndale House Doubles Down on Support for Mark Driscoll

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 ResurgenceTyndale 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. 

Aprel Mabson
~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.

(H/T: Jonathan MerrittRightWingWatch; Warren ThrockmortonWartburg Watch)

15 Responses

  1. It seems both you and west have a problem with driscoll and take this incident as an opportunity to attack him.

    who is the last line of defense before a book is published? Tyndale. So instead of attacking them this supposed radio host, her assistant producer, you and West go after someone you all do not like.

    That is worse than what you claim driscoll did. An assistant producer resigns…ASSISTANT… that carries about as much weight as a grip would if they resigned from a television show.

    You and West distort and blow this issue out of proportion because of your inability to be objective. Plus your failure to put your personal feelings aside as you report on this issue.

    I am not defending driscoll or his supposed actions I am in opposition to yours and West’s witchhunt which has no real evidence to support it.

    • “It seems both you and west have a problem with driscoll and take this incident as an opportunity to attack him.”

      Look, if you’re happy with all he’s doing, why don’t you just ignore the problem like you always have? After all the people who suffer under his heavy handed leadership don’t need care or anyone to speak for them!

      It looks like you have a problem with anyone who criticizes driscoll and you take this blog post as an opportunity to attack them.

  2. It is interesting to see the lengths to which Mark Driscoll’s apologists will go to defend his plagiarisation of material that clearly is the work of others.

    The previous commenter above is a case in point. It is claimed that this post “has no real evidence to support it”, flying in the face of the facts. Here’s the evidence that Driscoll engaged in plagiarism:

    http://www.pajamapages.com/on-driscoll-its-a-straight-red/

    “Not only did Driscoll copy the words, he manipulated the citations in the source material to make it appear as though he had done the research himself. By so doing, it shows that he understands the value of citations and research, but decided to deceive the reader into believing that he had done that work himself. Think about the effort it took to reformat those in-text citations and add them to his book as footnotes. Why not also footnote the original book? He did know how to use them.”

    and

    “With the manipulation of the footnotes, Driscoll has compounded his deception, and worked even harder to mask it. No yellow here. No warning. This is an easy call: Straight Red.”

    I would call on Mark Driscoll to apologise to his church members and readers, and repent of his sinful deception of falsely appropriating the words and research of others.

  3. By the way, here’s the direct evidence that Driscoll committed plagiarism—it’s the evidence Mefferd posted before arms were twisted in order to get it taken down:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20131203032816/http://www.janetmefferd.com/wp-content/uploads/MATERIAL-SCREENSHOTS-HERE.pdf

  4. Well done!

  5. […] » Tyndale House Doubles Down on Support for Mark Driscoll Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion. […]

  6. […] Post, Crosswalk, Right Wing Watch, Orlando Sentinel, Opposing Views, First Things, Examiner, Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion, Religion Dispatches, and the Urban Christian News all have new articles up about the matter, some […]

  7. […] censor. Her silence tells me that her actions are neither voluntary nor, in her mind, warranted. As Richard Bartholomew has pointed out, there appears to be a contractual arrangement between Tyndale publishers and […]

  8. technically I don’t think this business link actually means Mefferd would contractually not be able to criticize any of Tyndales’s published authors. That makes little sense, because most of evangelicalism would be off limits. This kind of stuff happens all the time where advertisers get miffed at hosts for having an opinion. I remember when 1800 flowers pulled the plug on Rush Limbaugh’s show. It’s not unusual. I remember being told about a host on KKMS (another Christian station, different network I think) that had a host that mentioned problems in the Evangelical Covenant denomination. The host didn’t spend a lot of time on it but one advertiser happened to belong to that denomination and complained and threatened. It’s patently ridiculous how control freaky people with money are. We’ve come full circle in this country. I’m thinking of that great line in Mel Gibson’s The Patriot where his character Benjamin Martin says “Would you tell me please, Mr. Howard, why should I trade one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away?”

    This is why so many people are starting to get out of that dysfunctional rats nest of political animals and start new networks and do independent or online radio as Chris Rosebrough explained on his December 5th Fighting For the Faith episode. He has seen numerous voices shut down for speaking the truth. But speak the truth we must. Anyone who desires to do that will suffer. And sadly it’s equally as frequently at the hands of other ‘Christians’ as it is persecution from unbelievers. If we don’t correct the so-called “Christians” who are employing these bully tactics (which the world sees and rightly mocks) why should we expect the world to treat us any better? We let our evangelical movers and shakers get away with murder, practically, and the world just laughs at us for our hypocrisy when we whine and cry at their attempts to silence the church.

    I mean, to be a little hyperbolic, it seems like pretty soon we’ll be crouching over our HAM radios in the dark, listening for someone to say “John Has A Long Mustache…” O.o

  9. […] Driscoll lately doesn’t seem able to produce a book without controversy: late last year, there were accusations of plagiarism in relation to another title. […]

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