I don’t have much to say about the ruckus these last few weeks concerning the allegation of plagiarism by Mark Driscoll, an allegation that was made by Janet Mefferd, and then subsequently withdrawn by her. Not having much to say, I intend therefore to not say it. Initially I thought to say nothing whatever, but now I should actually say I do have something to offer about the ruckus, but not about the situation that caused the ruckus. I don’t know enough yet to say anything much about that.
Update: more on the whole deal can be found here.
1. I will say at the outset that I consider Mark Driscoll a friend, and I also have friends across the way from him who take a pretty dim view of all things Driscoll. Nothing I say here is intended to alter any of that, or adjust the general lay of the land. This has nothing to do with “tribes” or “sides,” so make sure you read clean through this entire post before drawing any conclusions about what you think I might be saying. My only relation to “sides” in this is that I have friends on both sides, and I intend to keep it that way. These are mostly observations that this situation made me think of — they are not necessarily allegations about the situation, although I will obviously be saying some things connected to it.
While I have friends in both directions, these thoughts are my own. I am not acting as anyone’s proxy, and I am not leaking inside information I got from anybody.
2. A point has been made that we have a culture that is dependent on evangelical celebrities, and that these shining figures at the top of our hierarchy need accountability. And so they do, but only because absolutely everybody up and down the entire hierarchy needs accountability. We are all sinners, and we all need it. Nobody should be above correction — but this must include those who deliver correction. And in my (quite extensive) experience with this kind of thing, those who make allegations usually operate with significantly more freedom than is enjoyed by evangelical “celebrities.” Prominent figures in the religious world are regularly toppled, usually due to their own sin and folly, but not always, and they are hardly permanent fixtures in our heavenly firmament. False accusers, on the other hand, are very rarely toppled. I think they all must have tenure, kind of like the English Department. So my first point is that everyone must be accountable for their words and actions — leaders and followers, rich and poor, celebrities and peons, high and low. Everybody.
3. From the foregoing, it might seem that I am leaning against what Carl Trueman wrote about all this, both at Reformation 21 and First Things. But I appreciated much of what he had to say. There was a lot of wisdom there, and I appreciated him saying it. So this point should be considered as a supplement to all that, and not an attempted counter to it.