Mark Driscoll Apologizes for "Mistakes Made" Amid Plagiarism Investigation

Like Us

Tyndale House publishers released the results of their investigation into allegations of plagiarism against Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll.

Tyndale House publishers released the results of their investigation into allegations of plagiarism against Seattle megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll. Nearly a month after the first accusation, Driscoll admitted that “mistakes were made” but Tyndale has concluded that his new book, A Call to Resurgence, is free of plagiarized text and ideas.

“Mistakes were made that I am grieved by and apologize for,” said Driscoll. “As a Bible teacher, I know that Jesus loves us and uses everything for good. I know He cares very much that we do things in a way that reflects His glory. As a result, I have been praying that He would help me learn through all of this to become more like Him and more effective for Him.”

Tyndale House released a statement saying they support Driscoll and admire the biblical manner in which he is handling the issue.

“Tyndale House and Mark Driscoll take any claims of plagiarism seriously. Tyndale does not condone it in any of its works, and if discovered, the company takes action to correct it immediately. Driscoll has consistently spoken out against plagiarism in his writing and publishing. If any mistakes are ever made in that regard, he is equally committed to correcting such errors as soon as they are discovered. Pastor Driscoll has fully cooperated with Tyndale and both have worked together to carefully investigate the issue with respect to A Call to Resurgence.”

The statement continued, “After taking the necessary and important time needed to investigate all aspects of this issue, Tyndale House Publishers has concluded the following:

“1. Pertaining to his Tyndale book, A Call to Resurgence, Tyndale believes that Mark Driscoll did indeed adequately cite the work of Peter Jones. … Tyndale rejects the claims that Mark Driscoll tried to take Peter Jones’s ideas and claim them as his own. Moreover, at Pastor Driscoll’s invitation, Peter Jones has written on the Resurgence website and spoken at a Resurgence event, as well as a Mars Hill workshop. Quite the opposite of trying to take Peter Jones’s ideas, Mark Driscoll has provided several opportunities for Peter Jones to publicly express his ideas to a large audience.  

“2. In a separate issue unrelated to any Tyndale title, the radio host also made an allegation with regard to a study guide that was published in-house at Mars Hill. In this instance, Pastor Driscoll agrees that errors were made. He says:

“‘In recent weeks, it was brought to my attention that our 2009 Trial study guide on 1 & 2 Peter contained passages from an existing work for which no proper citation to the original work was provided. The error was unintentional, but serious nonetheless. I take responsibility for all of this. In order to make things right, we’ve contacted the publisher of the works used in the study guide, offered an apology, and agreed to work with them to resolve any issues they had. Also, I personally contacted one of the editors of the work that was not rightly attributed. Thankfully, he and I have a longstanding relationship, which includes him teaching at Mars Hill and publishing a book with us through Resurgence. He’s a godly man who has been very gracious through all of this. I am deeply thankful for his acceptance of my apology, as I deeply grieve this mistake with a brother in Christ whom I appreciate very much.

“‘Our Full Council of Elders and Board of Advisors and Accountability have all been thoroughly informed, as I am gladly under authority both internally at Mars Hill to a team of Elders, and to a formal leadership team from outside of Mars Hill.'”

Tyndale’s statement continued, “To his credit, Mark Driscoll has moved quickly to make all necessary changes where mistakes were made in the study guide. Moreover, he has assured us that he has personally spoken with the primary editor of a commentary that was inadvertently used in the study guide without adequate citation, and all parties spoken to have told Pastor Driscoll that they are satisfied with the steps he has taken to correct the errors.”

Please Note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, uncivil and off-topic. Read a detailed description of our Comments Policy.
  • VamosPanama

    I like how Pastor Mark Driscoll handled this issue. I just discover him a few weeks ago and like his way of preaching.

  • Gregory Williams

    I wish people stop being so sensitive, if the study guide is helping people then what does it matter. The church is acting more like the world every day.

    • MyoungSr

      It seems to matter most when MONEY and ‘getting credit’ is involved. (And I mean that in a business-way…not tongue-in-cheek.)

    • Hersh, or is it HARSH

      Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who
      created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a
      shifting shadow.
      Because I did not say I’m quoting God when I posted this above I hope God doesn’t sue me for plagiarism…

      Personally, I think it’s more about pride/greed when it comes down to demanding “acknowledgment” for some good (godly) idea/comment/word of encouragement.

      And like it was said, if it helps… why care??? (I don’t want to directly quote you because wouldn’t I have to acknowledge your comment(s) here??? Pun intended.

  • Carla Young

    Let’s keep the the presentation of the Gospel going forward! I love Mark’s teaching and his passion for the Word of God.

    • David Dean

      Mark Driscoll with a Bible is like an Ethiopian with a cook book. He’s clueless. He’s theology is a mess. He only impresses the ignorant. To those of us educated in the study of the Word of God Driscoll is a train wreck.

  • Tandy Adams

    “The error was unintentional”
    This reminds me of when my son does something wrong and says “it was an accident”. This is his way of lessening the punishment because if it wasn’t on purpose then maybe mom won’t be mad. You can’t tell me with all the people employed by the machine that is Mars Hill that something as big as this was overlooked. And Tyndal’s response is totally expected, after all they exist as a business, to make money. I am all about grace and forgiveness but forgiveness comes after confession and confession must be sincere. Only God knows if Mr. Driscoll was sincere but in this article it does not appear so to me.

    • Pastor Drew

      Tread lightly Tandy, you are judging the intentions of Mark Driscoll’s heart and the word of Tyndale publishers. You and I are ill equipped to do so, as it is God who judges the heart. It’s also a logic fallacy to assume that just because any organization is large and employees many people, that therefore they are incapable of making mistakes. Its hard to imagine a motive for intentional Plagiarism on an internal study guide that was never formally published. You really think the editors at Mars Hill were sitting around going, “You know what we should do? We should cite everything correctly for all the other sources, but this ONE source we will purposefully screw it up. That will show them!”

      • Tandy Adams

        I think judging their intentions is actually our job as diligent followers of Christ. We are told to use discretion when it comes to who we follow, and Driscoll has a large following. I can think of lots of reason for intentional plagiarism; to appear more intelligent, more insightful, more holy. Tyndall did what any business would do, mitigate it’s damages and protect its assets, as I’m sure Driscoll is a good sourse of income for them, that’s not a judgement on their character, it’s good business. I just wonder if he is truly sorry, why it took so long for him to apologize.

        • David Lee

          Whats with all this:”I think judging their intentions is actually our job as diligent followers of Christ” ? While it can be argued that Mark Driscoll is a public figure, he really does not owe you any aplologies.The only folks he should apologize to are his followers( which you obviously are not part of) and the publishing house.It seems they have accepted his apology and maybe his family/church members.Get over it

          • Tandy Adams

            Wow, I did not expect such hostility. I’m very sorry if I offended you in some way, that was never my intention. I only expressed my opinion. If you don’t agree with me, that’s perfectly ok, I promise it’s not the first time. The Bible does teach on discernment, and in order to do that, and be diligent about it, we must make judgements about the people who lead us. I am not a “follower” of anyone, other than Jesus, but as Christians we are all part of the same Body. Therefore, how we act and appear to the world can help or hinder the message of the Gospel. That’s why it matters, and that is how it affects us all.

          • David Lee

            Understood. And I apologize too on my part for sounding so hostile as you put it.It really wasn’t my intention

  • David

    I can tell you exactly what happened. Ok first Driscoll has never written a book in his life. He has young dumb college kids who volunteer their time & get only the honor of a little face time with the illustrious MD. They go through transcripts of his messages & then put together books from that. Citations don’t get written because it’s a disorganized mess. This is how a lot of mega church pastors ‘write’ their books. It’s several volunteers going through pages & pages of sermons putting together content to be reorganized into chapters. Driscolls taking responsibility because he has to. The mistakes happen because the process is pure chaos. MD just spins an apology. & the cash keeps coming in.

    I wish someone would do a character study of MD. I read that a psychologist evuated several of MDs interviews & things & basically diagnosed him as having a narcissistic sociopathic disassociativw disorder. Honestly that was my first impression of the man. I know several situations from Mars Hill & MD has a trail of body bags laying all around him. For both our sakes I hope I never wind up in the same room with him. I tend to say what I think & consider the consequences later.

  • Thomas C Dietz

    To all of the self ordained intention police: It’s God alone who can judge the intentions, we can only see the results and try to intuit the intent by regarding character and history. And here, neither of those point to willful theft for gain.
    Although I don’t agree with his eschatology, that is no reason to bludgeon the man’s ministry. He is clear on the main and plain things, and the ancillary or inconclusive things are still up for debate. That’s the main reason why we have different denominations.
    Regarding this instance: He is a man, like you and me, and CAN and DOES make human errors. If the entire premis was lifted, or concept and verbiage were copied and pasted as hs own, THEN we’d have an open and shut case. But it’s reasonable that you could miss a reference in a bibliography, or not catch the missing reference during the proof read.


WATCH: Tom McDaniels: Death Words

“God has spoken life over you and not death over you.”