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Mark Driscoll
Associated Press/Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Mark Driscoll

More publishers investigate Mark Driscoll

Religion | Crossway and NavPress begin reviews of the megachurch pastor’s books amid concerns of plagiarism

At least two more Christian publishers are investigating concerns of plagiarism regarding Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

Crossway, which published Driscoll’s Death by Love, issued a statement saying, “We are in touch with Mars Hill and are conducting an internal review to ensure that our books published by Mark Driscoll have proper citation and documentation.” Crossway publicist Janni Firestone added, “As of right now, we’re not sure when the internal review will be complete.”

Driscoll has published nine books with Crossway.

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NavPress issued a statement on Dec. 29, saying it, too, was investigating Driscoll’s work, adding, “We have chosen to respond to Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church directly and will keep the conversation private among both parties.” Since NavPress does not publish any of Driscoll’s books, the review likely concerns whether Driscoll inappropriately used material from a NavPress book, Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart, in Driscoll’s books Real Marriage and Death by Love.

Concerns of plagiarism came to light in November when Driscoll appeared on the nationally syndicated Janet Mefferd Show, where Mefferd confronted Driscoll on the air with accusations and examples of alleged plagiarism. In the days that followed, Mefferd posted these examples online, though she ultimately issued an on-air apology—not for the accusations of plagiarism, but for the manner in which she brought them to light.

The controversy did not go away, though, as the substance of Mefferd’s accusations has proven to be mostly true. Driscoll issued a statement saying, “Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for.” But his statement, issued in conjunction with Tyndale House Publishers, did not address these new concerns.

The controversy is also spilling into the mainstream media. The technology firm Ithenticate, which produces software to identify plagiarism, called the Driscoll controversy the No. 3 plagiarism story of the year, behind allegations that Rand Paul plagiarized portions of key political speeches and that Shia LaBeouf directed a short film that inappropriately borrowed from the work of another artist. Ithenticate’s Jonathan Bailey made particular note of “the allegations [Driscoll] worked to silence the criticism against him,” adding, “The scandal raised serious questions about journalism in matters of religion and those questions will not likely die away any time soon.”

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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