Mars Hill Church Admits 'Citation Errors'
Mars Hill Church has released a statement regarding plagiarism allegations against pastor Mark Driscoll. "Religion News Service" reported on the initial charges of plagiarism brought to light by syndicated radio host Janet Mefferd. We also reported on additional allegations, Mefferd's apology, and the resignation of Mefferd's assistant producer. The Driscoll PR team, led by Communications Manager Justin Dean, has stayed mum throughout the ordeal, failing to return emails, phone calls, and text messages from RNS. The Mars Hill statement was first discovered by Warren Throckmorton at "Patheos." It is difficult to find, buried in the "Downloads" section of the "Trial" sermon series page. The statement only address charges that plagiarized material appeared in a booklet on I&II Peter published by Mars Hill Church. It admits "citation errors" but blames a research team for the errors, which are located in a chapter naming Driscoll as author:
In 2009, Pastor Mark preached through 1 & 2 Peter in a sermon series called Trial. To help our small groups, a team of people including a research assistant, put together a free study guide that was produced in-house and was never sold. About 5 years later it was brought to our attention that it contained some citation errors. We have discovered that during the editing process, content from other published sources were mistaken for research notes. These sentences were adapted instead of quoted directly. We are grateful this was brought to our attention, and we have removed that document from our website to correct the mistake. Additionally, we are examining all of our similar content as a precautionary measure.
Elsewhere on the Mars Hill web site, Driscoll's research assistant is named as Justin Holcomb of Docent Research Group. "[Justin] has been humble enough to do a great deal of research for me, which, along with the work of my helpful friend and editing assistant Deacon Crystal Griffin, allows me to produce content at a pace I would never have thought possible...I am now sending out literally thousands of pages of content a year, as well as preaching and teaching hundreds of hours of content a year," the site states. It is unclear whether Holcomb is the "research assistant" referenced in the statement.