November 25, 2013

Carl Trueman Weighs In Briefly And Brilliantly Re Janet Mefferd and Mark Driscoll

I've been following the Mefferd interview of Driscoll and in some respects I can see why SOME people who haven't known the context might think Janet was badgering him.  However, keep in mind that Driscoll came right out of the starting gate in the interview lying and obfuscating about what actually happened at Strange Fire.  That doesn't score him any points with Janet or anyone who has bothered to analyze the facts from both sides.

Then throughout the rest of the interview he is rather dismissive about his own culpability in the plagiarism issue, playing Barak Obama "oh maybe it was changed during the editing process" and throwing maybe someone else under the bus for his own misdeeds. (Seems to be standard operating procedure for Driscoll.)

Carl Trueman has weighed in with this short article:

If the Top Men take over, who will ask the hard questions? 
The Mefferd-Driscoll controversy points to another aspect of celebrity culture: celebrities are routinely allowed to behave in ways which would not be tolerated in ordinary mortals. For example, being drunk on the job and hurling abuse at an employer would make one unemployable in the real world. Not for Charlie Sheen. A conviction for rape would be enough to have you characterized as a monster in the real world who had forfeited the right to sympathetic media exposure. Not for Mike Tyson or Roman Polanski (just ask that champion of women's rights, Whoopi Goldberg). In short, normal rules do not apply to celebrities in the same way as they do to others.

The same is true in the celebritydrome of the evangelical subculture. Driscoll is a classic case in point. For example, he has claimed that God gives him explicit images of the sexual sins of other people. He has embraced prosperity teacher and denier of the Trinity, T. D. Jakes, as a brother. He has written an explicit book on sex. Most recently, he engaged in a cringe-inducing publicity stunt unworthy of a spoiled teenager. For most of us, any one of these things would have ended in church discipline and (in the Jakes' case) removal from office. Yet in all of this, the fan base and those with a vested interest in capitalizing on his success grant him free pass after free pass.
Read more at Carl Trueman's blog post

I also noticed someone reminded Janet on twitter about a contentious interview and similar "they were MEAN to me" spin/fallout from 2012 with Justin Brierly on Unbelievable radio.

Here is the podcast

and here is a decent summary

I did find it amusing that Mark says Grace was treated disrespectfully there.  Mark in fact treated Justin's wife disrespectfully and she wasn't even there to defend herself.  And I disagree with Justin's theology quite a bit, including the idea of women pastors.

Some of the premier voices in evangelicalism are shaming Janet Mefferd now, including Justin Taylor of TGC. (I guess he figures every Christian author is a plagiarist?)

Lest you think I responded to him too harshly, remember, he's defending Mark Driscoll.  So just don't even bother to complain, even in your own head.  That would just be too silly.

At the end of the Mefferd interview it appears that Driscoll hangs up on her. In truth, he was merely silent for 9 seconds (which of course on radio is a no-no) so she closed the segment. After that he hung up. Not sure exactly what happened there, but you can’t erase the fact that he refused to respond and this naturally led her to believe he had checked out of the conversation. So now because Janet thought he hung up (which he did when he realized he wasn’t being heard after his 9 seconds) he is saying she is the problem and she is lying about that. (playing spin spin spin doctor!) But for Janet the hangup was not even the main issue.

Anyway, there are two different raw audio files out there. The stuff from Janet’s end and the stuff from Driscoll’s end. Driscoll’s has him speaking over her AFTER she thinks he’s ‘gone’ and saying “I’m here…” And Janet’s doesn’t (it was recorded on mono so they could not have pulled him out since he was speaking over her closing out the segment).

Statement from Janet Mefferd's producer re the raw audio/hangup claim

raw audio: ftp://ftp.srnprograms/com/Driscoll (login as guest to download)

Jonathan Merritt has an analysis and a statement from Tyndale House (publisher of Driscoll's book) here
Tyndale House Publishers was provided a recording of the show by representatives of Pastor Driscoll. A number of people at Tyndale reviewed the tape and were stunned, not only by the accusations, but by the belligerent tone of Ms. Mefferd’s questioning. When Ms. Mefferd asked Pastor Driscoll her first question to accuse him of plagiarism, she did not invoke Peter Jones’s name. The first person that Pastor Driscoll credited in his response was Mr. Jones. Pastor Driscoll also credits Mr. Jones in the section that Janet refers to in Mark’s book, A Call to Resurgence.
Tyndale has taken immediate steps as in the process of reviewing the section of Pastor Driscoll’s book that has been called into question. Pastor Driscoll has also reached out to Mr. Jones and we expect to be able to release some information on his reaction to the interview very soon.
- See more at:

Raw audio from Driscoll's side: (also linked in the Jonathan Merritt article)

Please do listen to the calls that come after the interview as well. As always, the Driscoll sycophants come out of the woodwork and Janet explains that SHE was the one contacted for the interview, not the other way around.  (While it is not standard procedure to divulge this information I think that kind of information ought to be made part of every interview, so we know WHO is seeking the publicity).  And Driscoll has the nerve to play the martyr during the call and say that he has the flu and that he was the one doing HER a ‘favor’ by coming on the show. Amazing.

Another good analysis was done by Wade Burleson
5). One of the tell-tale signs that Janet Mefferd was very close to the truth in challenging Mark with lifting Dr. Jones' ideas, words, and thought and passing it off as his own is the manner in which Mark comes after Janet Mefferd. From the 10:30 mark of the interview until the end, Mark Driscoll makes Janet Mefferd the issue. It reminds me of the old saying, "In dysfunctional systems, the problem is never the problem, but rather the person who reveals the problem becomes the problem."

My wife wisely challenged me not to draw a judgment without doing research on my own. Of course, she was right. So I bought Dr. Jones' book One or Two and Mark Driscoll's book A Call to Resurgence. I already had Jones' The God of Sex. I read the Jones' books and Driscoll's book and was stunned. The similarities in the wording and the concepts of "one-ism" and "two-ism" were bizarre. The wording, the thought patterns, and the concepts in Jones' book and Driscoll's book were so similar, one would think the same author wrote them. In the fourteen pages Janet points out in the interview, Mark Driscoll barely acknowledges Jones, and nowhere credits him for his original ideas. For example, Driscoll uses the phrase "sex is the pagan sacrament of one-ism" - something you will not read in your everyday preacher's journal - and Mark Driscoll never gives credit to Dr. Jones for the phrase which Dr. Jones uses in The God of Sex, based on his own original research and writing on paganism. Driscoll's use of that phrase without proper credit would be deemed plagiarism among all reputable scholars and publishers. Period.
Janet also received an email from her former boss:

But what does Janet know? I mean, "You’re not an intellectual property attorney or an intellectual property judge." (-- Mark Driscoll) and we all know that Radio hosts and journalists NEVER have to deal with issues of giving proper credit to sources! O.o

Keep on doing the Lord's work Janet!